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Chapter: Internet & World Wide Web HOW TO PROGRAM - Rich Internet Application Server Technologies - Web Servers (IIS and Apache)

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Client-Side Scripting versus Server-Side Scripting

In earlier chapters, we focused on client-side scripting with JavaScript. Client-side script-ing can be used to validate user input, to interact with the browser, to enhance web pages by manipulating the DOM of a page, and to add Ajax functionality.

Client-Side Scripting versus Server-Side Scripting

 

In earlier chapters, we focused on client-side scripting with JavaScript. Client-side script-ing can be used to validate user input, to interact with the browser, to enhance web pages by manipulating the DOM of a page, and to add Ajax functionality.

 

Client-side scripting does have limitations, such as browser dependency; the browser or scripting host must support the scripting language and capabilities. Scripts are restricted from accessing the local hardware and filesystem for security reasons. Another issue is that client-side scripts can be viewed by the client by using the browser’s source-viewing capability. Sensitive information, such as passwords or other personally identifi-able data, should not be on the client. All client-side data validation should be mirrored on the server. Also, placing certain operations in JavaScript on the client can open web applications to attack and other security issues.

 

Programmers have more flexibility with server-side scripts, which often generate custom responses for clients. For example, a client might connect to an airline’s web server and request a list of flights from Boston to San Antonio between April 19th and May 5th. The server queries the database, dynamically generates XHTML content containing the flight list and sends the XHTML to the client. This technology allows clients to obtain the most current flight information from the database by connecting to an airline’s web server.

 

Server-side scripting languages have a wider range of programmatic capabilities than their client-side equivalents. For example, server-side scripts often can access the server’s file directory structure, whereas client-side scripts cannot access the client’s directories.

 

Server-side scripts also have access to server-side software that extends server function-ality—Microsoft web servers use ISAPI (Internet Server Application Program Interface) extensions and Apache HTTP Servers use modules. Components and modules range from programming language support to counting the number of web-page hits. We dis-cuss some of these components and modules in the remaining chapters of the book.

 

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