Chapter 2. From Web Sites to Web Applications

Ajax web applications are here, and they are the future of the Web. The big question at this point is, how do we get there? How do we get from simple web sites to web applications? This seems easy on the surface, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy. Developing an application, whether it is on the desktop or on the Web, takes more forethought than the old model of web design did. Think for a minute about the old model. Sure, you could lay out your site and know what pages you wanted linked to other pages, or maybe you could draw a simple flow diagram, but that was usually as far as it went. Need to add another page? No problem: you’d create it and stick the link for it wherever it needed to be.

There is nothing wrong with this process, especially for small sites. Web sites in general are not inherently complicated, and they don’t need a more complex development model (though content management can be helpful). Application development, for the Web or otherwise, demands a more structured approach, however.


If you want to jump into implementation, skip ahead to Chapter 4. You can always come back to reflect on best practices for development.

The Transition

The art of computer science slowly begins to creep back into the Web as the application life cycle begins. Any software developer can describe the life cycle of a software application. If a programmer does not learn it as part of her curriculum in school, you can bet she finds out what it ...

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