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Web Application Architecture
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Table of Contents

About the Authors xv Preface xvi Acknowledgments xvii 1 Introduction 1 1.1 History and Pre-History of the Web 1 1.2 From Web Pages to Web Sites 3 1.3 From Web Sites to Web Applications 4 1.4 Web 2.0: On-line Communities and Collaboration 4 1.5 The Brave New World of AJAX 5 1.6 Focus of This Book 5 1.7 What Is Covered in This Book 7 1.8 Bibliography 9 2 Core Internet Protocols 11 2.1 Historical Perspective 12 2.2 TCP/IP Architecture 13 2.2.1 Protocol layers 13 2.2.2 Comparison with OSI model 14 2.2.3 The client-server paradigm 14 2.3 TCP/IP Application Services 16 2.3.1 Telnet 16 2.3.2 E-mail 17 2.3.3 Message forums 23 2.3.4 Chat and messaging protocols 24 2.3.5 Security and encryption 24 2.3.6 File server protocols 26 2.4 And Then Came the Web . . . 27 Questions and Exercises 28 2.5 Bibliography 28 3 Birth of the Web: HTTP 29 3.1 Historical Perspective 29 3.1.1 CERN: birthplace of the web 29 3.1.2 Building blocks of the web 30 3.2 Uniform Resource Locator 30 3.3 Fundamentals of HTTP 32 3.3.1 Request-response paradigm 33 3.3.2 Stateless protocol 33 3.3.3 Structure of HTTP messages 34 3.3.4 Request methods 36 3.3.5 Status codes 41 3.4 Better Information Through Headers 44 3.4.1 Support for content types 46 3.4.2 Caching control 49 3.4.3 Security 51 3.4.4 Session support 53 3.5 Evolution of the HTTP Protocol 56 3.5.1 Virtual hosting 57 3.5.2 Caching support 58 3.5.3 Persistent connections 59 3.6 Summary 60 Questions and Exercises 60 3.7 Bibliography 61 4 HTML and Its Roots 63 4.1 Standard Generalized Markup Language 64 4.1.1 SGML declaration 66 4.1.2 Document Type Definition 68 4.2 HTML 72 4.2.1 Evolution of HTML 72 4.2.2 Structure and syntax 73 4.3 HTML Rendering 79 4.3.1 Cascading Style Sheets 79 4.3.2 Associating styles with HTML documents 80 4.4 Summary 82 Questions and Exercises 82 4.5 Bibliography 83 5 XML Languages and Applications 85 5.1 Core XML 86 5.1.1 XML documents 87 5.1.2 XML DTD 88 5.1.3 XML Schema 91 5.2 XHTML 95 5.2.1 HTML 5 97 5.2.2 XHTML MP 97 5.3 Web Services 100 5.3.1 SOAP 100 5.3.2 Representational State Transfer (REST) 105 5.4 XSL 108 5.4.1 XSLT 109 5.4.2 XSL Formatting Objects 111 5.4.3 What is so important about XSL? 116 5.5 Summary 118 Questions and Exercises 119 5.6 Bibliography 120 5.7 Web Links 120 5.8 Endnotes 120 6 Web Servers 121 6.1 Basic Operation 122 6.1.1 HTTP request processing 123 6.1.2 Delivery of static content 125 6.1.3 Delivery of dynamic content 127 6.2 Mechanisms for Dynamic Content Delivery 135 6.2.1 Beyond CGI and SSI 135 6.2.2 Native APIs (ISAPI and Apache Server API) 135 6.2.3 FastCGI 135 6.2.4 Template processing 136 6.2.5 Servlets 137 6.2.6 Java Server Pages 138 6.2.7 Future directions 139 6.3 Advanced Functionality 140 6.3.1 Virtual hosting 140 6.3.2 Chunked transfers 141 6.3.3 Caching support 142 6.3.4 Extensibility 143 6.4 Server Configuration 143 6.4.1 Directory structure 143 6.4.2 Execution 144 6.4.3 Address resolution 145 6.4.4 MIME support 146 6.4.5 Server extensions 146 6.5 Server Security 147 6.5.1 Securing the installation 147 6.5.2 Dangerous practices 148 6.5.3 Secure HTTP 149 6.5.4 Firewall configurations 149 6.5.5 HTTP proxies 150 6.6 Summary 150 Questions and Exercises 151 6.7 Bibliography 152 7 Web Browsers 153 7.1 Overview of Browser Functionality 154 7.2 Architectural Considerations 155 7.3 Overview of Processing Flow in a Browser 157 7.3.1 Transmitting a request 157 7.3.2 Receiving a response 159 7.4 Processing HTTP Requests 162 7.4.1 Constructing the request line 163 7.4.2 Constructing the headers 165 7.4.3 Constructing the request body 166 7.4.4 Transmitting the request 167 7.5 Processing HTTP Responses 167 7.5.1 Processing successful responses 168 7.5.2 Processing responses with other status codes 170 7.6 Cookie Coordination 172 7.7 Privacy and P3P 173 7.8 Complex HTTP Interactions 174 7.8.1 Caching 174 7.8.2 Authorization: challenge and response 178 7.8.3 Using common mechanisms for data persistence 179 7.8.4 Requesting supporting data items 180 7.8.5 Multimedia support: helpers and plug-ins 182 7.9 Summary 184 Questions and Exercises 186 7.10 Bibliography 187 7.11 Web Links 188 7.12 Endnotes 188 8 Active Browser Pages: From JavaScript to AJAX 189 8.1 Pre-History 191 8.2 JavaScript 191 8.2.1 Manipulating page content 194 8.2.2 Client-side form validation 196 8.2.3 Hovering behaviors: image rollover 199 8.2.4 JavaScript Object Notation 201 8.2.5 Summary 202 8.3 Cascading Style Sheets 203 8.3.1 Format of CSS rules 204 8.3.2 Hovering behaviors: the a:hover pseudo-class 208 8.3.3 Summary 209 8.4 DHTML 209 8.4.1 Inner workings 210 8.4.2 Controlling content visibility 210 8.4.3 Leveraging toolkits 212 8.4.4 Client-side validation using toolkits 216 8.4.5 Hovering behaviors using toolkits 217 8.4.6 Widgets 219 8.4.7 Summary 221 8.5 AJAX 221 8.5.1 Content injection: manual approach 222 8.5.2 Content injection: using toolkits 224 8.5.3 Auto-completion 225 8.5.4 Remote validation 228 8.5.5 Where does DHTML end and AJAX begin? 229 8.5.6 Summary 231 8.6 Case Study: 5-Star Rating 231 8.6.1 Designing a star-rating component 232 8.6.2 When you click upon a star: what happens on the server? 236 8.7 Summary 236 Questions and Exercises 237 8.8 Bibliography 237 8.9 Web Links 238 8.10 Endnotes 238 9 Approaches to Web Application Development 239 9.1 Taxonomy of Web Application Approaches and Frameworks 240 9.1.1 Programmatic approaches 240 9.1.2 Template approaches 241 9.1.3 Hybrid approaches 241 9.1.4 Frameworks 242 9.2 Comparative Survey of Web Application Approaches and Frameworks 245 9.2.1 CGI and FastCGI 245 9.2.2 Server-Side Includes (SSI) 246 9.2.3 PHP 246 9.2.4 Java Servlet API 247 9.2.5 Cold Fusion 249 9.2.6 Velocity 251 9.2.7 Active Server Pages and .NET 252 9.2.8 Java Server Pages 254 9.2.9 JSP Model 2 257 9.2.10 Java Standard Tag Library 258 9.2.11 Struts 260 9.2.12 Java Server Faces 261 9.2.13 JBoss Seam 264 9.2.14 Rapid application development: Ruby on Rails 264 9.3 Summary 267 Questions and Exercises 272 9.4 Bibliography 272 10 Web Application Primer 1: Struts and JSTL 275 10.1 Case Study: Virtual Realty Listing Services 276 10.2 Application Requirements 278 10.3 Technology Choices 279 10.4 Overview of Struts 280 10.5 Structure of the VRLS Application 283 10.5.1 Configuration 284 10.5.2 Controller components 287 10.5.3 View components 291 10.5.4 Model components 297 10.6 Design Decisions 299 10.6.1 Abstracting functionality into service classes 299 10.6.2 Including embedded pages to support co-branding 301 10.6.3 Creating and modifying customer profiles in one task 302 10.7 Suggested Enhancements 303 10.7.1 Adding an administrative interface 303 10.7.2 Enhancing the signup process through e-mail authentication 304 10.7.3 Improving partner recognition through a persistent cookie 305 10.7.4 Adding caching functionality to the DomainService Class 306 10.7.5 Paging through cached search results 307 10.7.6 Using XML and XSLT for view presentation 308 10.7.7 Tracking user behavior 310 10.7.8 Using an object-relational mapping tool 310 10.7.9 Adding DHTML and AJAX for an enhanced user experience 311 10.8 Summary 312 Questions and Exercises 312 10.9 Bibliography 313 11 Web Application Primer 2: Ruby on Rails 315 11.1 Comparing Rails with Java EE 316 11.1.1 Similarities 316 11.1.2 Differences 317 11.2 Application Requirements 317 11.3 Building the Administrative Interface as a Rails Application 318 11.3.1 Downloading and installing Ruby and Rails 318 11.3.2 Building an application skeleton 318 11.3.3 Creating a new project and configuring the database 321 11.3.4 Scaffolding for the model, view, and controller classes 322 11.3.5 Enhancing the application 326 11.4 Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Rails 339 11.4.1 How rapid is rapid application development? 339 11.4.2 Database support 340 11.4.3 Limitations of scaffolding 340 11.4.4 Scalability 341 11.4.5 Performance and clustering 341 11.4.6 Version 2.0 issues 341 11.4.7 Is Rails web-designer-friendly? 342 11.5 Whither Enterprise Java? 343 11.6 Summary 344 Questions and Exercises 344 11.7 Bibliography 345 11.8 Web Links 345 11.9 Endnotes 345 12 Search Technologies 347 12.1 Overview of Algorithms 348 12.1.1 Historical perspective 348 12.1.2 Basic vector-space algorithm 349 12.1.3 Common enhancements 355 12.1.4 Word clustering 355 12.1.5 Custom biases 357 12.2 Searching the Web 358 12.2.1 Google page ranking 358 12.2.2 Web spiders 359 12.2.3 Summary 361 12.3 Site Search Applications 361 12.3.1 General architecture 362 12.3.2 Lucene 363 12.3.3 OneBox applications 367 12.4 Search Engine Optimization 369 12.4.1 Robots.txt 370 12.4.2 Sitemaps 372 12.4.3 Sitemap extensions 376 12.4.4 Site and URL structure 376 12.4.5 Black Hat SEO 377 12.5 Summary 378 Questions and Exercises 379 12.6 Bibliography 380 12.7 Web Links 380 12.8 Endnotes 380 13 Trends and Directions 381 13.1 XML Query Language 382 13.2 Semantic Web 385 13.2.1 Resource Description Framework (RDF) 386 13.2.2 Composite Capabilities/Preference Profiles 392 13.2.3 RDF query language 393 13.3 Future of Web Application Frameworks 396 13.3.1 One more time: separate content from presentation 396 13.3.2 Use the right tools for the job 398 13.3.3 Simplicity 399 13.4 Current Trends 404 13.4.1 Everything old is new again 404 13.4.2 Social networking and community web sites 405 13.4.3 Cloud computing and "Weblications" 405 13.5 Summary 407 Questions and Exercises 407 13.6 Bibliography 408 13.7 Web Links 408 13.8 Endnotes 408 14 Conclusions 409 Index 413

About the Author

Leon Shklar currently works for Thomson Reuters where he is the head of technology for Reuters Media. Previously, Leon headed up the development team for the online edition of the Wall Street Journal at Dow Jones. Prior to joining Dow Jones, he spent six years at Bell Communications Research and almost as long in the world of dot-coms and Internet software. Leon holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rutgers University. Rich Rosen is a senior developer in the Fixed Income Systems Group at Interactive Data Corporation. Previously, he was an Application Architect at Dow Jones. Rich began his career at Bell Labs, where his work with relational databases and the Internet prepared him the world of Web application development. He is a co-author of Mac OS X for Unix Geeks, 4th Edition (O'Reilly). Rich holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.

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