Seriously though, was there life before the Web? Growing up today, one would hardly think so. The advent of the Internet has provided a basis for communication unparalleled in the history of mankind, with people both young and not so young using it as a means for shopping, learning, and communicating. In just a few short years following its inception, aspiring entrepreneurs have made it big, corporate empires have been built and lost, and entire economies are booming, all due in part to the vision of Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues that the world might one day be interconnected via hyperlinks.
Of course, the Web has progressed substantially over the last ten years, beginning largely as a tool for scientific research and soon evolving to one capable of retrieving sometimes mind-boggling amounts of information. Perhaps the single most important contributing agent to the aggregation of this information is the ease in which it can be published to the Web. With minimal knowledge, a person can download a text editor, FTP software, and Web browsers and consequently be “published” to the electronic media.
However, the process behind the creation and maintenance of dynamic, large-scale Web sites tendsto be somewhat more complicated. Typically incorporating features such as user interaction, database mining, and multiplatform accessibility, development of a professional Web service can quickly become a major undertaking. If you are interested inlearning more about how these types of services can be constructed and deployed, this book is for you.