I never thought I’d program a Web page.

I’ve done a little programming, but on the Web I have been happy to either create static pages or to use a content management system. My Web programming has been limited to using includes to modularize my pages and tossing CMS macros onto my pages.

But since I’ve started building Coastsider [password required for the next week or so], I’ve started using PHP. I started using it against my will, just to get some of the “templates” that came with my classified software to look like the rest of the site. Then, I started using it to create forms for my users.

Yesterday, I created a page that interfaced to the Terraserver’s satellite photo database, including panning and zooming. It’s empowering to be able to build software into your web pages. It’s barrier-shattering to be able to mix code with HTML to do simple tasks and to interface to your content management system. The architecture of PHP encourages experimentation.

No more than a small number of individual Web site publishers will ever do much coding. On the other hand, I now think that increasingly powerful content management systems will encourage programming, rather than make it unnecessary.