The World Wide Web officially celebrated its 20th birthday as I began writing this topic. In one sense, it’s hard to believe that the technology has been around this long already. At another level, it’s amazing how much has happened in that short time. When I started teaching and writing about the Internet (long before the Web was practical), none of us had any idea what it was going to turn into one day.
If you’re reading this topic, I don’t have to tell you that the Web is a big deal. It’s come a long way, and it’s doing very interesting things. What I want to show in this topic is where the Web is going. Web technology is changing faster than ever, and people who don’t understand these changes are going to have a hard time staying on top of things.
In the early days of the Web, we talked about Web pages, as if the Internet were a set of ordinary documents connected by links. This was true (and still is largely), but I don’t think that’s the best way to think of the Web any more. Today’s Web is not about documents, but about applications. Users and developers expect their pages to do things, not just be glorified documents.
If you read this entire topic, you’ll be able to do amazing things with your Web pages. You’ll be able to get input from users, test the validity of user input, animate your pages, and interact with Web servers.
How This Topic Is Organized
Part III: Moving Up to AJAX
If you’ve been hanging around with Web geeks, you’ve probably heard of AJAX. It’s kind of a big deal, and it has the potential to change the way Web development works. Learn what this thing is really about. Create some AJAX requests by hand, and then use the incredible jQuery library to do more powerful programming. Learn how jQuery introduces new ways to think about programming, and how to use the jQuery User Interface extension to build snappy user experiences. You’ll also learn how to work with various kinds of data, from PHP programs to XML and JSON. Yummy.
Part IV: The Part of Tens
No topic would be complete without a Part of Tens. I’m really excited about these chapters. In one, you explore ten of my favorite jQuery plugins. These amazing tools make it easy to add amazing features to your sites. You’ll see plugins for automatically sorting tables, translating text into foreign languages, building graphs, showing image galleries, playing mp3 files, and much more. Another chapter points you toward some amazing resources on the Web to learn even more.
It’s Even on the Internet!
This topic has a couple of companion Web sites that are critical to understanding the topic. Web programming is about making Web pages do things, and you just won’t be able to see all of that in a topic. As you’re going through this topic, I strongly advise you to visit . A running version of every program in the topic is available on both of these sites. You’ll also be able to view the source code of each program in its natural habitat — running on the Web.
The site is also a great place to start when you’re collecting your tools and libraries. Every tool or library that I describe in this topic is linked from the Web page, so you’ll definitely want to check it out. I also have a forum where I’m happy to answer your questions and share projects with you. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.