Chapter: Internet & World Wide Web HOW TO PROGRAM - Introduction - Introduction to Computers and the Internet

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Software Technologies

In this section, we discuss some software engineering topics and buzzwords that you’ll hear in the software development community. We’ve created Resource Centers on most of these topics, with many more on the way.

Software Technologies

 

In this section, we discuss some software engineering topics and buzzwords that you’ll hear in the software development community. We’ve created Resource Centers on most of these topics, with many more on the way.

 

Agile Software Development is a set of methodologies that try to get software imple-mented quickly with fewer resources than previous methodologies. Check out the Agile Alliance (www.agilealliance.org) and the Agile Manifesto (www.agilemanifesto.org).

Refactoring involves reworking code to make it clearer and easier to maintain while preserving its functionality. It’s widely employed with agile development methodologies. Many refactoring tools are available to do major portions of the reworking automatically.

 

Design patterns are proven architectures for constructing flexible and maintainable object-oriented software. The field of design patterns tries to enumerate those recurring patterns, encouraging software designers to reuse them to develop better-quality software with less time, money and effort.

 

Game programming. The computer game business is larger than the first-run movie business. College courses and even majors are now devoted to the sophisticated software techniques used in game programming. Chapter 17 discusses building interactive games with Adobe Flash CS3. Also check out our Resource Centers on Game Programming, C++ Game Programming and Programming Projects.

 

Open source software is developed in a way unlike the proprietary development that dominated software’s early years and remains strong today. With open source develop-ment, individuals and companies contribute their efforts in developing, maintaining and evolving software in exchange for the right to use that software for their own purposes, typ-ically at no charge. Open source code generally gets scrutinized by a much larger audience than proprietary software, so bugs may be removed faster. Open source also encourages more innovation. Sun recently open sourced Java. Some organizations you’ll hear a lot about in the open source community are the Eclipse Foundation (the Eclipse IDE is pop-ular for C++ and Java software development), the Mozilla Foundation (the creators of the Firefox browser), the Apache Software Foundation (the creators of the Apache web server) and SourceForge (which provides the tools for managing open source projects and cur-rently has over 150,000 open source projects under development).

 

Linux is an open source operating system and one of the greatest successes of the open source movement. Apache is the most popular open source web server. MySQL (see Chap-ters 22–24) is an open source database management system. PHP (see Chapter 23) is the most popular open source server-side “scripting” language for developing Internet-based applications. LAMP is an acronym for the set of open source technologies that many developers used to build web applications—it stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (or Perl or Python—two other scripting languages used for similar purposes).

 

Ruby on Rails (see Chapter 24) combines the scripting language Ruby with the Rails web application framework developed by the company 37Signals. Their book, Getting Real, is a must read for today’s web application developers; read it free at getting-real.37signals.com/toc.php. Many Ruby on Rails developers have reported significant productivity gains over using other languages when developing database-intensive web applications.

 

Software has generally been viewed as a product; most software still is offered this way. If you want to run an application, you buy a software package from a software vendor. You then install that software on your computer and run it as needed. As new versions of the software appear, you upgrade your software, often at significant expense. This process can become cumbersome for organizations with tens of thousands of systems that must be maintained on a diverse array of computer equipment. With Software as a Service (SaaS), the software runs on servers elsewhere on the Internet. When those servers are updated, all clients worldwide see the new capabilities; no local installation is needed. You access the service through a browser—these are quite portable, so you can run the same applications on different kinds of computers from anywhere in the world. Salesforce.com, Google, Microsoft and 37Signals all offer SaaS.

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