Suchen und Finden
I love the Internet, and if you picked up this book, you probably do, too. The Internet is dynamic, chaotic, exciting, interesting, and useful, all at the same time. The web is pretty fun from a user's point of view, but that's only part of the story. Perhaps the best part of the Internet is how participatory it is. You can build your own content — free! It's really amazing. There's never been a form of communication like this before. Anyone with access to a minimal PC and a little bit of knowledge can create his or her own homestead in one of the most exciting platforms in the history of communication.
The real question is how to get there. A lot of web development books are really about how to use some sort of software you have to buy. That's okay, but it isn't necessary. Many software packages have evolved that purport to make web development easier — and some work pretty well — but regardless what software package you use, there's still a need to know what's really going on under the surface. That's where this book comes in.
About This Book
You'll find out exactly how the web works in this book. You'll figure out how to use various tools, but, more importantly, you'll create your piece of the web. You'll discover:
- How web pages are created: You'll figure out the basic structure of web pages. You'll understand the structure well because you build pages yourself. No mysteries here.
- How to separate content and style: You'll understand the foundation of modern thinking about the Internet — that style should be separate from content.
- How to use web standards: The web is pretty messy, but, finally, some standards have arisen from the confusion. You'll discover how these standards work and how you can use them.
- How to create great-looking web pages: Of course, you want a terrific-looking website. With this book, you'll find out how to use layout, style, color, and images.
- How to build modern layouts: Many web pages feature columns, menus, and other fancy features. You'll figure out how to build all these things.
- How to write programs on the server: Today's web is powered by programs on web servers. You'll discover the powerful PHP language and figure out how to use it to create powerful and effective sites.
- How to harness the power of data: Every web developer eventually needs to interact with data. You'll read about how to create databases that work. You'll also discover how to connect databases to your web pages and how to create effective and useful interfaces.
I don't have any foolish assumptions: I'm not assuming anything in this book. If you've never built a web page before, you're in the right hands. You don't need any experience, and you don't have to know anything about HTML, programming, or databases. I discuss everything you need.
If you're reasonably comfortable with a computer (you can navigate the web and use a word processor), you have all the skills you need.
If you've been around web development for a while, you'll still find this book handy.
If you've used HTML but not HTML5, see how things have changed and discover the powerful combination of HTML5 and CSS3.
You'll see how new HTML and CSS features can literally make your web pages sing and dance, with support for advanced tools like audio and video embedding, animation, and much more.
If you're starting to get serious about web development, you've probably already realized that you'll need to work with a server at some point. PHP is a really powerful, free, and easy language that's extremely prominent on the web landscape. You'll use this to have programs send e-mails, store and load information from files, and work with databases.
If you're messing with commercial development, you'll definitely need to know more about databases. I get e-mails every week from companies looking for people who can create a solid relational database and connect it to a website with PHP.
If you're curious about AJAX, you can read about what it is, how it works, and how to use it to add functionality to your site. You'll also read about a very powerful and easy AJAX library that can add tremendous functionality to your bag of tricks.
I wrote this book as the reference I wish I had. If you have only one web development book on your shelf, this should be the one. Wherever you are in your web development journey, you can find something interesting and new in this book.
Use Any Computer
One of the great things about web development is how accessible it can be. You don't need a high-end machine to build websites. Whatever you're using now will probably do fine. I tested most of the examples in this book with Windows 7, Ubuntu Linux, and a Macbook pro. I've tested on computers ranging from cutting-edge platforms to mobile devices to a $35 Raspberry Pi. Most of the software I use in the book is available free for all major platforms. Similar alternatives for all platforms are available in the few cases when this isn't true.
Don't Buy Any Software
Everything you need for web development is on the companion website. I've used only open-source software for this book. Following are the highlights:
- Komodo Edit: Komodo Edit is my current favorite editor. It's a solid free text editor well suited to the many text-editing tasks you'll run across in your programming travels. It also works exactly the same on every platform, so it doesn't really matter what computer or operating system you're running.
- XAMPP: When you're ready to move to the server, XAMPP is a complete server package that's easy to install and incredibly powerful. This includes the incredible Apache web server, the PHP programming language, the MySQL database manager, and tons of useful utilities.
- Useful tools: Every time I use a tool (such as a data mapper, a diagram tool, or an image editor) in this book, I make it available on the companion website.
There's no need to buy any expensive web development tools. Everything you need is here and no harder than the more expensive web editors.
How This Book Is Organized
- Book I: Creating the HTML Foundation — Web development incorporates a lot of languages and technologies, but HTML is the foundation. Here I show you HTML5, the latest incarnation of HTML, and describe how it's used to form the basic skeleton of your pages.
- Book II: Styling with CSS — In the old days, HTML had a few tags to spruce up your pages, but they weren't nearly powerful enough. Today, developers use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to add color and formatting to your pages as well as zing and pizazz. (I'm pretty sure those are formal computer programming words.)
- Book III: Building Layouts with CSS — Discover the best ways to set up layouts with floating elements, fixed positioning, and absolute positioning. Figure out how to build various multicolumn page layouts and how to create dynamic buttons and menus.
- Book V: Server-Side Programming with PHP — Move your code to the server and take advantage of this powerful language. Figure out how to respond to web requests; work with conditions, functions, objects, and text files; and connect to databases.
- Book VI: Managing Data with MySQL — Most serious Web projects are eventually about data. Figure out how databases are created, how to set up a secure data server, the basics of data normalization, and how to create a reliable and trustworthy data back end for your site.
- Book VII:...