My question is what is the subject area that covers web page execution/loading.

I am looking to purchase a book by subject area that covers when things execute or load in a web page, whether it's straight html, html and Javascript, or a PHP page.

Is that topic covered by a detailed html book, or should I expect to find information like that in a JavaScript of PHP book?

I understand that PHP and Perl execute on the server and that Javascript is client side, and I know there is a lot of on-line documentation describing <html>, <head>, <body>, and so on. I'm just wondering what subject area a book would be in to cover all that, not a discussion of the best book or someone's favorite book, but the subject area.

  • Is this all of the information you're looking for? I only ask because it's an awfully straight forward explanation when you're dealing with such a high level elements like server-side versus client-side code.. Sep 19, 2012 at 13:11
  • 1
    Are you actually asking about the mark-up or about the HTTP protocol and how information gets served up by it?
    – glenatron
    Sep 19, 2012 at 13:29
  • HTTP is the big thing you are not mentioning in your question. Also, there are some good web-timing ideas here: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/129673/… Sep 19, 2012 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


I'm not entirely sure what you are asking, but here are a few areas that you may want to look at:

Web Servers - Handling and processing requests and replying with the required documents or data

HTTP Protocol - Handles the request and transmission of files and other web requests

Browser Rendering - Drawing of the resulting data of a HTTP Request on the page

You then have each individual technology which will be covered by their own books, such as HTML, CSS, Javascript etc, however most of these will be tutorials on how to code using these technologies rather than descriptions of how they are rendered and processed.

What exactly is it you are trying to achieve? It may be easier to point you in the right direction if you can say what you are trying to achieve.

  • Some of what I want may be achieved through a Javascript or even an XHTML book. Sep 19, 2012 at 13:47

There is a generic sequence of events that happens. You may get a better understanding how page is downloaded and parsed by just looking at F12-Developer tool (which really cool tool in Chrome).

Basic execution flow will have the following stages:

  • Page Request is sent to server (through url)
  • Web server accepts the request and handles it
  • On success, server site scripts are executed, and HTML generated for transmission
  • All that is done through HTPP request/response
  • On HTTP status code 200 - standard response for successful HTTP requests is sent
  • Html is downloaded
  • Html parsed progressively,
  • after HTML is parsed the DOM is rendered
  • after the DOM rendered and requests for all resources are downloaded ot timed-out the JavaScript execution from the onload/page complete event fires.

More detailed information with example: - Load and execution sequence of a web page

  • That is a very basic flow.
    – glenatron
    Sep 19, 2012 at 13:29
  • my answer is close to complete now, i also put a reference, hope that helps
    – Yusubov
    Sep 19, 2012 at 13:31
  • ElYusubov - it may be worth adding in the steps prior to data transmission - i.e site request and script execution, then data transmission etc. Sep 19, 2012 at 13:37
  • Gavin - you are right, i need to add them to the top, Thx !
    – Yusubov
    Sep 19, 2012 at 13:38
  • @ElYusubov I guessed you were going to and then my comment would make no sense, but I couldn't resist :p
    – glenatron
    Sep 20, 2012 at 7:09

what is the subject area that covers web page execution/loading.

This is an excellent set of slides illustrating how to scrutinize every aspect of the web page execution and loading process.

Google, Chrome - DevTools.

Those tools are advancing rapidly.

While that is not a "subject area", there are many subject areas discussed, which may help you find what you are looking for.

Hope that helps.

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