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This volume is aimed primarily at web developers seeking to build better interfaces for the users of their web applications and programmers from desktop environments looking to transfer their applications to the Internet. It also proves useful to web designers eager to learn how the latest techniques can offer new outlets for their creativity. Although the nature of PHP, JavaScript, and Ajax applications means that they require some programming, all the required technologies are explained from first principles within the book, so even those with little or no programming experience should be able to follow the lessons without a great deal of difficulty  All the technologies—including a refresher of WWW basics—are explained from first principles, so that even non-programmers or those unfamiliar with these languages should be able to follow the development of the concepts with little problem.
[The book is divided into parts, each dedicated to a particular technology or discussion topic. Within each part, the chapters each specialize in a given aspect or subtopic. It should therefore be easy to follow the instructional flow of the book by a quick look through the table of contents. However, if you are already a competent programmer in one or more of the technologies used—in PHP for instance, or in JavaScript—then feel free to speed-read or skip the sections that you don’t need. To try out many of the examples you’ll need access to a web server that supports PHP, and a means to upload files into your web space (probably FTP)




Most web hosts include PHP in their hosting packages, or can do so on request at minimal or no cost. Alternatively, the CD that accompanies this book contains everything required to set up a web serving environment on your own computer. This package is called XAMPP, and it contains everything you need to develop fully functional, interactive websites like those described in this book, ready to be deployed to a web-based server at a later date if you so choose. Look out for the boxes marked “On the CD” as you work through the book.
Over the last decade or so, the World Wide Web has grown in scope from being a relatively simple information repository to becoming the first stop for many people when seeking entertainment, education, news, or business resources. Websites themselves need no longer be limited to a number of static pages containing text and perhaps simple images; the tools now available allow the development of highly interactive and engaging pages involving animations, visual effects, context-sensitive content, embedded productivity tools, and much more.




The list of technologies available for producing such pages is broad. However, those based on Open Source licenses have become, and remain, highly popular due to their typically low (often zero) entry cost, and to the huge resource of user-contributed scripts, tutorials, tools, and other resources for these tools and applications available via the Internet and elsewhere. In this book, we give a detailed account of how to program fluid, interactive websites using server- and client-side coding techniques and tools, as well as how to combine these to produce a slick, desktop-application-like user experience using Ajax.The programming languages used in this book include the ubiquitous JavaScript (for client-side programming) and the immensely popular open-source PHP language (for server-side scripting, and available with the majority of web-hosting packages). The nuts and bolts of Ajax programming are described in detail, as well as the use of several advanced open-source frameworks that contain ready-written code for quickly building state-of-theart interactive sites.

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