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Introduction to Computers and the Internet

Welcome to Internet and World Wide Web programming and Web 2.0! And welcome to a walkthrough of the Web 2.0 phenomenon from the technical, business and social per-spectives.

Internet & World Wide Web HOW TO PROGRAM

P. J. Deitel, H. M. Deitel

 

Part 1: Introduction

 

Chapter 1

Introduction to Computers and the Internet

 

Introduction

 

Welcome to Internet and World Wide Web programming and Web 2.0! And welcome to a walkthrough of the Web 2.0 phenomenon from the technical, business and social per-spectives. We’ve worked hard to create what we hope you’ll find to be an informative, en-tertaining and challenging learning experience. As you read this book, you may want to refer to www.deitel.com for updates and additional information.

 

The technologies you’ll learn in this book are fun for novices, and simultaneously are appropriate for experienced professionals who build substantial information systems.

Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, Fourth Edition, is designed to be an effective learning tool for each of these audiences. How can one book appeal to both groups? The answer is that the core of this book emphasizes achieving program clarity through the proven techniques of structured programming, object-based programming and object-ori-ented programming. Beginners will learn programming the right way from the beginning. Experienced programmers will find “industrial-strength” code examples. We have attempted to write in a clear and straightforward manner using best practices.

 

Perhaps most important, the book presents hundreds of working examples and shows the outputs produced when these examples are rendered in browsers or run on computers. We present all concepts in the context of complete working programs. We call this the “live-code approach.” These examples are available for download from our website,

www.deitel.com/books/iw3htp4/.

 

The early chapters introduce computer fundamentals, the Internet and the web. We show how to use software for browsing the web. We present a carefully paced introduction to “client-side” web programming, using the popular JavaScript language and the closely related technologies of XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cas-

cading Style Sheets) and the DOM (Document Object Model). We often refer to “pro-gramming” as scripting—for reasons that will soon become clear. Novices will find that the material in the JavaScript chapters presents a solid foundation for the deeper treatment of scripting in the Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, PHP and Ruby on Rails chapters later in the book. Experienced programmers will read the early chapters quickly and find the treatment of scripting in the later chapters to be rigorous and challenging.

 

Most people are familiar with the exciting things that computers can do. Using this textbook, you’ll learn how to command computers to perform specific tasks. Software (i.e., the instructions you write to command the computer to perform actions and make decisions) controls computers (often referred to as hardware). JavaScript and PHP are among today’s most popular software development languages for web-based applications.

 

Computer use is increasing in almost every field of endeavor. In an era of steadily rising costs, computing costs have been decreasing dramatically because of rapid develop-ments in both hardware and software technologies. Computers that filled large rooms and cost millions of dollars just two decades ago can now be inscribed on the surfaces of silicon chips smaller than fingernails, costing perhaps a few dollars each. Silicon is one of the most abundant materials on earth—it is an ingredient in common sand. Silicon-chip tech-nology has made computing so economical that more than a billion general-purpose com-puters worldwide are now helping people in business, industry, government, education and in their personal lives. And billions more computers are embedded in cell phones, appliances, automobiles, security systems, game systems and so much more.

 

Through the early 1990s most students in introductory programming courses learned only the methodology called structured programming. As you study the various scripting languages in this book, you’ll learn both structured programming and the newer method-ology called object-based programming. After this, you’ll be well prepared to study today’s popular full-scale programming languages such as C++, Java, C# and Visual Basic .NET and to learn the even more powerful programming methodology of object-oriented pro-gramming. We believe that object-oriented programming will be the key programming methodology for at least several decades.

 

Today’s users are accustomed to applications with rich graphical user interfaces (GUIs), such as those used on Apple’s Mac OS X systems, Microsoft Windows systems, various Linux systems and more. Users want applications that employ the multimedia capabilities of graphics, images, animation, audio and video. They want applications that can run on the Internet and the web and communicate with other applications. Users want to apply database technologies for storing and manipulating their business and personal data. They want applications that are not limited to the desktop or even to some local computer network, but that can integrate Internet and web components, and remote data-bases. Programmers want to use all these capabilities in a truly portable manner so that applications will run without modification on a variety of platforms (i.e., different types of computers running different operating systems).

 

In this book, we present a number of powerful software technologies that will enable you to build these kinds of systems. Early in the book we concentrate on using technolo-gies such as the Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML), JavaScript, CSS, Flash, Flex, Silverlight, Dreamweaver and Extensible Markup Language (XML) to build the portions of web-based applications that reside on the client side (i.e., the portions of applications that typically run in your web browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox 2 or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7). Later in the book we concentrate on using technologies such as web servers, databases (integrated collections of data), PHP, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, ASP.NET Ajax and JavaServer Faces (JSF) to build the server side of web-based applications. These portions of applications typically run on “heavy-duty” computer systems on which organizations’ business-critical websites reside. By mastering the tech-nologies in this book, you’ll be able to build substantial web-based, client/server, database-intensive, “multitier” applications. We begin with a discussion of computer hardware and software fundamentals. If you are generally familiar with computers, the Internet and the web, you may want to skip some or all of this chapter.

 

To keep up to date with Internet and web programming developments, and the latest information on Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4/e, at Deitel & Associates, please register for our free e-mail newsletter, the Deitel® Buzz Online, at

www.deitel.com/newsletter/subscribe.html

 

Please check out our growing list of Internet and web programming, and Internet business Resource Centers at

 

www.deitel.com/resourcecenters.html

 

Each week, we announce our latest Resource Centers in the newsletter. Figure 2 in the Preface includes a complete list of Deitel Resource Centers at the time of this writing. The Resource Centers include links to, and descriptions of, key tutorials, demos, free software tools, articles, e-books, white papers, videos, podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds and more that will help you deepen your knowledge of most of the subjects we discuss in this book.

Errata and updates for the book are posted at

 

www.deitel.com/books/iw3htp4/

 

You’re embarking on a challenging and rewarding path. As you proceed, if you have any questions, please send e-mail to

 

deitel@deitel.com

 

We’ll respond promptly. We hope that you’ll enjoy learning with Internet & World Wide

 

Web How to Program, Fourth Edition.

 

Architecture of Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4/e

This book focuses on Web 2.0 and Rich Internet Application (RIA) development. Our goal is to develop webtop applications that have the responsiveness, look and feel of tradi-tional desktop applications. In the interim since the previous edition of this book, Deitel has evolved into a development organization, while maintaining its focus on programming languages textbook and professional book authoring, and corporate training. We’re build-ing the infrastructure for the Internet businesses we’re designing and developing as part of our Web 2.0 Internet Business Initiative. This edition has been enhanced with discussions of many practical issues we’ve encountered in developing that infrastructure.

 

Figure 1.1 shows the architecture of Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4/e.

 

The book is divided into several parts. The first part, Chapters 1–3, provides an introduc-tion to the Internet and the web, web browsers and Web 2.0. These chapters provide a foundation for understanding Web 2.0 and Rich Internet Application development. Chapter 1 introduces hardware, software, communications and Web 2.0 topics. If you are

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a serious web developer, you’ll want to test your web applications across many browsers and platforms. The examples for this book target Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Mozilla’s Firefox 2 (FF2) browsers, each of which is introduced in Chapter 2. The examples execute correctly in both browsers. Many of the examples will also work in other browsers such as Opera and Safari. Many of the examples will not work on earlier browsers. Microsoft Windows users should upgrade to IE7 and install FF2; readers with other operating systems should install Firefox 2. Web browsers—a crucial component of web applications—are free, as are most of the software technologies we present in this book. Chapter 3 discusses Web 2.0 from technical, business and social perspectives.

 

The second part of the book, Chapters 4–15, presents a 12-chapter treatment of Ajax component technologies that concludes with Chapter 15’s treatment of Ajax develop-ment. Ajax is not a new technology—we’ve been writing about all but one of its compo-nent technologies since the first edition of this book in 1999, and many of the technologies existed before that. However, Ajax is one of the key technologies of Web 2.0 and RIAs. Several later chapters in the book demonstrate technologies that encapsulate Ajax func-tionality to help make it operate across a wide variety of browsers and browser versions.

 

The third part of the book, Chapters 15–28, focuses on both the client and server sides of the GUI and graphical part of RIA development. Here we cover client-side tech-nologies such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight that use, or can be combined with, Ajax or Ajax-like capabilities to develop RIAs. Each of these technologies also can consume web services. Next, we present the server side of web application devel-opment with discussions of web servers (IIS and Apache), databases, several server-side scripting languages such as PHP and Ruby on Rails, and several server-side frameworks such as ASP.NET 2.0 and JavaServer Faces. We complete our server-side discussion with a chapter on building web services.

 

You may have noticed that Chapter 15, Ajax-Enabled Rich Internet Applications, overlaps the second and third parts of the book. Chapter 15 serves as a bridge from “raw” Ajax development to sophisticated RIA development.

 

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