Developing Web Applications
January 2007, ©2006
Developing Web Applications presents script writing and good programming practice but also allows students to see how the individual technologies fit together. It includes recent technical developments to provide a practical and modern introduction to building web applications.
Assuming no prior programming experience, this concise, accessible book ensures that essential concepts on the client side are quickly grasped, and goes on to examine the server environment and available languages, including discussion of dynamic, modern scripting languages such as PHP. Network and security issues are also discussed. The aim of this book is to deliver exactly what is needed to start producing working applications as soon as possible – and have fun along the way.
Ideal for course use or self-study, this book includes practical suggestions for mini-projects which encourage the reader to explore his or her own imaginative solutions, as well as more theoretical end-of-chapter questions. It can also easily be used as a reference work as each section is self-contained, amplifying the key aspects of its particular topic. Most software covered is freely available in the public domain and no particular development environments are required. It is a direct, contemporary and extremely useful resource for anyone interested in learning how to program applications for the World Wide Web.
CHAPTER 1: THE WAY THE WEB WORKS.
A basic introduction to how the WWW works within the context of the Internet with supporting protocols and applications.
CHAPTER 2: THE CLIENT SIDE: HTML.
This chapter starts to look at the client side and static Web page development using HTML. You will learn how to develop simple Web pages and formatting, together with tables, images and frames.
CHAPTER 3: FROM HTML TO XHTML.
Here we continue the exploration of HTML into XHTML. You will learn about the various standards that have been developed for HTML. More advanced HTML will also be studied, and the ability to control search engines, cache refresh and meta information.
CHAPTER 4: GETTING SOME STYLE: CSS.
In this chapter you will learn how to present and control the format of Web pages using CSS. This includes the ability to precisely control the positioning and attributes of content while maintaining the structure of the document itself.
This chapter will prepare you for developing with this popular scripting language, showing you the syntax and possibilities of use. The aims here are to show you how it is placed within a page, variables, strings, arrays and loops. Program flow is also discussed and how conditional operators and commands are used.
CHAPTER 7: DHTML.
The aim of this chapter is to bring dynamic aspects of site design together. You will learn about animation, caching, event driven scripting and browser compatibility. It’s in this chapter you will also find out more about compatibility and the need to provide alternatives for different browsers.
CHAPTER 8: XML: EXTENSIBLE MARKUP LANGUAGE.
In this chapter you will learn about the basics of XML and how it can be used to store information away from the mechanism of processing or formatting of such data. You will learn how to build simple XML files, and be able to manipulate and refer to them.
CHAPTER 9: XML, XSL AND XSLT: TRANSFORMING XML.
The aim of this chapter is to learn about and explore the possibilities of using XML as the starting point for data to be transformed into other target formats using XSLT. Style sheets are used and linked to documents. It is shown here that it is possible to process XML with a browser or a programing language on the client side.
CHAPTER 10: WEB SERVICES, FEEDS AND BLOGS.
Here you will learn about three important areas of Web activity: how it is possible to create language- and platform-independent services that utilize common Web protocols and XML; how information can be disseminated automatically to interested people; and finally, the phenomenon of the blog!
CHAPTER 11: THE SERVER SIDE.
This chapter aims to give you your first contact with the server side and introduces you to the server; the various possible packages and platforms; how to set up and the options involved; testing your server; logging users and dealing with dynamic IPs.
CHAPTER 12: PHP 1: STARTING TO SCRIPT ON THE SERVER SIDE.
This chapter gives a basic introduction to PHP and dynamic programing on the server side. You will learn how to develop simple PHP, how to structure your programs and embed script within HTML.
CHAPTER 13: PHP 2: ARRAYS, FUNCTIONS AND FORMS.
Here, you learn how to further manipulate data within PHP and in the process get to grips with new functions, loop structures and the verification of data input through forms. Simple arrays to dynamic structures are discussed, along with the ability to manipulate strings through special functions. Attention is particularly given to how to enlist specific features of PHP when processing data and how these can be used to add security.
CHAPTER 14: MORE ADVANCED PHP.
The aim here is to provide a glimpse of the further possibilities within PHP, including cookies, sessions, objects and more advanced file handling.
CHAPTER 15: NETWORK AND WEB SECURITY.
The aim of this chapter is to make you aware of threats to online security that you and your users must guard against. The most common forms of attack are studied, such as viruses and worms, cross site scripting, email problems, Trojan horses, phishing and many other mechanisms. Possible solutions are also looked into, including firewalls and anti-virus software.
CHAPTER 16: DATABASES.
The aim of this chapter is to help you understand databases so that they can easily be utilized in your Web applications and sites. The basic idea of the database is explored, together with how well it can be linked in with server side scripting. All the basic functions are studied, together with how these can be communicated directly to the database server.
CHAPTER 17: ALTERNATIVE SCRIPTING LANGUAGES.
The aim of this chapter is to have a look at the various technologies available for developing Web applications. This can be useful to familiarize you with legacy code that may be met while maintaining older applications and Web sites.
CHAPTER 18: FUTURE: GAINING A PERSPECTIVE.
This chapter’s main focus is to acquaint the reader with the leading edge of Internet and Web technology, to give some idea of the currently active research areas and inspire interest for future study.
- Students will need little previous programming experience
- Also includes strong and timely coverage of new and important areas such as PHP5, MySQL and mobile technologies.
- Focuses on open source and freely available software for use, including Apache server, PHP and MySQL
- Defines the surrounding context allowing students to see how the technologies fit together rather than existing as isolated units.
- Strong pedagogical features including workshops and exercises, ultimately leading to the creation of a number of applications at the book’s end, which depend upon the student’s ingenuity to complete.
- Encourages a creative rather than a formal approach to developing applications.