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Old Dec 6, 2012, 10:15 AM   #1
booyahbooyah
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How to figure out technologies used to create and manage a website

The problem today is the problem of plenty. There are too many technologies out there.

I'm doing some research on what technologies certain sites use... so that I have a good idea of the landscape before launching some websites of my own.

There are development acceleration tools such as Joomla, Drupad, Insoshi, Word Press, etc... and I want to know if these sites are using such tools.

I'm also interested in understanding the platforms being used to host these sites (e.g. LAMP stack, etc.), and the hosting providers (e.g. Amazon AWS, etc.).

Finally, I'm curious about the language family being used to enable some of the "beyond HTML" functionality -- e.g. PHP, Ruby etc...

At the moment, the specific sites I'm interested in are:
imore.com
macrumors.com
theverge.com
slacktory.com

Can you explain to me how to analyze these sites so I can arrive at answers to these questions? I know one has to look at the page source code... but it's not clear to me how to interpret it.

Also --- is there a general term that encompasses what I'm talking about above? I'm sure this question has been asked on the web before, and I can simply google for it using this term.

Thanks.

Last edited by booyahbooyah; Dec 6, 2012 at 10:26 AM.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 11:14 AM   #2
jsm4182
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When I'm figuring out what CMS a site is using I look at some of the tags in the <head>. Joomla is one of the easiest to identify, theres usually a meta tag saying what version of Joomla is being used. For Wordpress and Drupal I look at the file paths for the files linked in the head. If "wp" is used a lot in the file paths its Wordpress. Drupal is a little tricker, I wouldn't have figured it out if I wasn't a Drupal developer, if the drupal site has css aggregation turned off, there will be a lot of css files, the last few would start with the path "/sites/all/themes/", if css aggregation is on there are far fewer css files, and the path starts with "/sites/default/files/css/". This isn't 100% reliable, developers that heavily customize the CMS may change some of these.

After working with these systems for a while you also start to notice elements that stay the same across different sites using the same CMS. For a while there was a certain style of footer that was very common on Wordpress powered sites. A lot of drupal sites will use the default tabs on the login page.

Theres a lot of more obscure systems that are harder to identify and a lot of big sites use proprietary systems. Of the four sites you mentioned the only one that can be easily identified this way is slacktory.com. And as many Macrumors members can tell you, the forum is powered by vbulletin and the home page is some custom work.
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Last edited by jsm4182; Dec 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 04:35 PM   #3
DaveTheRave
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Try this. Sites using Wordpress have a dashboard that can accessed by adding "/wp-admin" to the end of the domain address: www.mysite.com/wp-admin

Of course you won't be able to login without correct ID & password but you'll know they use Wordpress and not some other software.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 04:42 PM   #4
ChristianJapan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booyahbooyah View Post
At the moment, the specific sites I'm interested in are:

macrumors.com
That's easy; scroll down to the button of this page and you see what our Admins using ... And assume some custom development/customization on top.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 01:24 AM   #5
SrWebDeveloper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booyahbooyah View Post
The problem today is the problem of plenty. There are too many technologies out there. I'm doing some research on what technologies certain sites use...
I suggest searching for keywords "analyze technology stack".

I did and found a great link I think you should check out:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3...te-is-built-on

FYI - I consider stackoverflow.com a trusted and key Web resource.

Here is a snippet from that web site:

Quote:
Site URLs may betray the framework and/or programming language but cannot be relied upon (e.g. file extensions such as .asp). HTTP response headers, cookies, stylesheets and source comments may also give clues.

Some nice tools for querying site details (no doubt there are many more):

BuiltWith
DomainTools
NetCraft
W3Techs
Firefox addons:

Wappalyzer - CMS, frameworks/libraries, e-commerce, message boards etc.
Domain Details - IP, country and webserver details
Library Detector - Javascript libraries in use
Bookmarklets:

WTFramework - shows Javascript framework in use
I also recommend using Web Developer plugins for Chrome or Firefox which can help you find out details on sites in tremendous granularity.
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