Not too terribly long ago, Web development literally meant learning how to write hypertext markup language code that would format text and graphics properly when viewed on a Web browser. We really didn't have many choices, nor did we have very many ways to solve a problem. If you wanted your text italicized, you surrounded it with <i> tags. (We won't go into the <i> versus <em> debates that still live on today.) The Web, however, is no longer just a one-way information-dissemination tool. The World Wide Web is interactive, and it's actually an application platform that holds the promise of obscuring the underlying operating system out of existence. And, what runs the back end for most of those Web applications? Yep. Linux.
On most levels, programming for the Web is no different from programming for an operating system. In fact, many of the same languages lend themselves quite nicely to the Web world. We've devoted this issue to help sort out some of the options. Whether you're an old hand looking for a few new ideas to optimize your Web apps or someone new to Web development looking for the right tool for the job, we think you will enjoy this issue.
Reuven Lerner gives us all a lesson in jQuery. It's growing in popularity, and Reuven shows us some reasons why. It certainly doesn't mean you have to switch if you're already using something like Prototype, but it's definitely something you'll want to read about. Although, perhaps something like the Google Web Toolkit is more appealing. There's no doubt Google knows its stuff when it comes to Web development, and using the GWT, you can harness much of Google's power from within your Java programs. Federico Kereki walks us through developing Web 2.0 applications using Google's Web toolkit, again emphasizing the idea of the Web as a “platform” rather than just a device for passing data.
I want to let you in on a little secret. A few paragraphs up, when I mentioned <i> versus <em>, sadly that about summed up my Web programming abilities. If you're in the same boat I am, fear not; we made sure to keep this issue relevant to you as well. Marcel Gagné highlights a handful of HTML editors that make it easy, even for nonprogrammers, to create Web pages. For many of us, that still suffices.
If you aren't interested in creating Webby goodness at all, every issue of Linux Journal is designed to appeal to all our readers. Bill Childers introduces us to an entire virtual on-line world with Second Life in Linux. When you add Mick Bauer's series on Samba Security, Dave Taylor's shell scripting, Daniel Bartholomew's reviews of the Dell Mini 9 and the Archos 5, and Kyle Rankin's tutorial on hacking apart log files, I'm not sure how we fit everything between the covers!
This is a fun issue of Linux Journal, and I think it will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Whether you're a Web programmer or a gamer, a Ruby on Rails fan or a Netbook enthusiast, it will be a good month. <i> have a <strong> feeling that you'll all <b> impressed with most of the topics covered this month, and hopefully some of you will enjoy <em> all!