Modern Web Technologies — Jerusalem Web Professionals, January 2011

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What's the current state of Web technologies, and how does it affect professionals creating Web applications? In this talk, I survey the latest trends in Web technologies, and where I believe they're going in the near future.

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  • Modern Web Technologies — Jerusalem Web Professionals, January 2011

    1. 1. Modern WebTechnologies (and why you should care) Reuven M. Lerner • reuven@lerner.co.il Jerusalem Web Professionals January 18th, 2011
    2. 2. Who am I?• Web developer since 1993• Software architect, lecturer, consultant, technical advisor• Linux Journal columnist since 1996• Mostly Ruby on Rails + PostgreSQL, but also Python, jQuery, MySQL, and lots more...
    3. 3. How does the Internet (TCP/IP) work? “Socket” Client Server Port Port
    4. 4. How does the Internet (TCP/IP) work? “Socket” Client Server Port PortClient opensconnection
    5. 5. How does the Internet (TCP/IP) work? “Socket” Client Server Port PortClient opens Server acceptsconnection connection
    6. 6. Protocols• Communication standards built on top of TCP/IP, typically text-based • SMTP (e-mail) • FTP (file transfer) • NNTP (transfer of “news” articles)
    7. 7. WWW: Three technologies• Markup format: HTML• URL: protocol + server + port + doc• Protocol: HTTP
    8. 8. How the Web worksBrowser Server
    9. 9. How the Web works HTTP RequestBrowser Server
    10. 10. How the Web works HTTP RequestBrowser Server HTTP Response
    11. 11. How the Web works HTTP RequestBrowser Server HTTP Response Stateless — after the response is sent,the connection is broken and forgotten
    12. 12. Simple requestBrowser Server
    13. 13. Simple request GET /Browser Server
    14. 14. Simple request GET /Browser Server 200 OK <html> <head>...</head> <body>...</body> </html>
    15. 15. Not found?Browser Server
    16. 16. Not found? GET /blahblahBrowser Server
    17. 17. Not found? GET /blahblahBrowser Server 404 Not found
    18. 18. Three things are certain:Death, taxes, and lost data.Guess which has occurred. — David Dixon, Salon magazine contest
    19. 19. Submitting formsBrowser Server
    20. 20. Submitting forms POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server
    21. 21. Submitting forms POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    22. 22. Document = request• If an HTML page contains images, then each is retrieved in a separate HTTP request • Page with 30 images = 31 HTTP requests • Page with 20 images, 10 JavaScript files, and 5 CSS files = 36 HTTP requests
    23. 23. Idea: Lie to the browser• Don’t return a document to the user• Rather, run a program when the user makes a request, and send the program’s output• If the output is in HTML, then the browser will show it no differently than a static doc
    24. 24. Just in time production• Wait as long as possible to create pages for the user• Ideally, create them when the user requests them• “Mass customization”
    25. 25. Dynamic documentBrowser Server
    26. 26. Dynamic document GET /Browser Server
    27. 27. Dynamic document GET /Browser Server 200 OK <html> <head>...</head> <body>...</body> </html>
    28. 28. Dynamic document GET /Browser Server 200 OK <html> <head>...</head>Program output <body>...</body> </html>
    29. 29. What we return• Usually HTML• Image (e.g., stock graphs, Google Analytics)• Word/Excel doc (e.g., from Google docs)• PDF (e.g., PDF reports)• XML, JSON (for computers, not people)• Basically, any defined MIME type
    30. 30. APIs and mobile appsComputer A Computer B (browser) (server)
    31. 31. APIs and mobile apps GET /Computer A Computer B (browser) (server)
    32. 32. APIs and mobile apps GET /Computer A Computer B (browser) (server) 200 OK <some-xml> <talk>JWP</talk> </some-xml>
    33. 33. APIs and mobile apps GET / Computer B (server) 200 OK <some-xml> <talk>JWP</talk> </some-xml>
    34. 34. APIs and mobile apps GET / Computer B (server) 200 OK <some-xml> <talk>JWP</talk> </some-xml>
    35. 35. APIs and mobile apps GET / Computer B (server) 200 OK <some-xml> <talk>JWP</talk> </some-xml>
    36. 36. APIs and mobile apps GET / Computer B (server) 200 OK <some-xml> <talk>JWP</talk> </some-xml>
    37. 37. What is a Web app?• Receives its inputs via HTTP• Sends its output via HTTP• That’s it! A Web application can do anything you want, within these limits
    38. 38. That’s it!• Now you understand how the Web works.• Really, that’s it.• Go home.
    39. 39. OK, perhaps not...• How do we write these programs?• Where (and how) do we store user data?• How have the underlying technologies (URLs, HTTP, and HTML) advanced?
    40. 40. Early Web applications• First server-side programs were in C• They were compiled into binaries • So you had the CGI source (cgi-src) directory... • ... and the CGI binary (cgi-bin) directory
    41. 41. “Scripting” languages• No explicit compilation• Cross platform• Built-in, powerful text functions• Do a lot in a little bit of code• Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby• Typically open source
    42. 42. Frameworks• DRY (Don’t repeat yourself)• Get rid of the drudgery• Concentrate on your business, rather than worrying about common Web issues
    43. 43. MVC paradigm• Most modern frameworks use MVC• From Smalltalk in the 1980s! • Model — communicates with database • View — HTML/JavaScript/CSS for user • Controller — handles requests• Clear division of labor
    44. 44. Web frameworks in dynamic languages• Programmer speed trumps execution speed• Community support• Plugins for commonly requested features• Create a domain-specific language (DSL) for your specific needs
    45. 45. Ruby on Rails• Ruby language• Rails Web app framework (MVC)• Designed for writing Web DSLs• “Convention over configuration”• Thousands of little improvements• ActiveRecord — ORM
    46. 46. Person modelclass Person < ActiveRecord::Baseend
    47. 47. Where’s the definition?• The computer takes care of it automatically• ActiveRecord knows what columns you have defined, and what their types are • (More on columns later)• Only write things that cannot be understood automatically
    48. 48. Not only Rails• Python (Django)• PHP (Symfony)• Perl (Catalyst)• Groovy (Grails)• Even if you don’t use Ruby on Rails, you have benefitted from its “opinions”
    49. 49. Plugins• Rails (and other systems) have open-source plugins to handle common issues • Authentication • E-commerce • Social networking• Don’t write these yourself! Customize existing code that has proved itself
    50. 50. Storage• Applications are great!• But what if we want to store information about our users? • Name, e-mail address, account balance• We could use text files, but most people will use a database
    51. 51. What is a database? Store data confidently DatabaseRetrieve data flexibly
    52. 52. Relational databases Define tables,store data in them DatabaseRetrieve data from related tables
    53. 53. Relational databaseCREATE TABLE INSERT SQL goes here Database UPDATE DELETE
    54. 54. Relational databases• Everything is stored in 2-dimensional tables• Data should appear only once (normalized)• “Join” tables to connect tables• Technology is extremely robust, fail-safe• Not all data is a good fit for this paradigm
    55. 55. id first_name last_name phone1 Reuven Lerner 054-496-84052 Charlie Kalech 02-671-9918
    56. 56. id first_name last_name email 1 Reuven Lerner reuven@lerner.co.il 2 Charlie Kalech charlie@j-town.comperson_id phone_number 1 054-496-8405 1 847-230-9795 2 02-671-9918 2 054-803-3356 2 501-629-8620
    57. 57. id first_name last_name email 1 Reuven Lerner reuven@lerner.co.il 2 Charlie Kalech charlie@j-town.comperson_id phone_number_type_id phone_number id type 1 2 054-496-8405 1 1 847-230-9795 1 work 2 1 02-671-9918 2 mobile 2 2 054-803-3356 2 3 501-629-8620 3 fax 4 home
    58. 58. id first_name last_name email 1 Reuven Lerner reuven@lerner.co.il 2 Charlie Kalech charlie@j-town.com person_id phone_number_type_id phone_number id type 1 2 054-496-8405 1 1 847-230-9795 1 work 2 1 02-671-9918 2 mobile 2 2 054-803-3356 2 3 501-629-8620 3 fax 4 homeSELECT P.first_name, P.last_name, P.email, PN.phone_number, PNT.typeFROM People P, Phone_Numbers PN, Phone_Number_Types PNTWHERE PN.person_id = P.id AND PNT.id = PN.phone_number_type_id
    59. 59. Another language!• SQL is the language of relational databases• So a Web app will use a language (e.g., Ruby, Python, or PHP) + SQL• Or use an ORM, which automatically translates your language into SQL Person.first.phone_number
    60. 60. Extending our diagram Browser
    61. 61. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser
    62. 62. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser Server
    63. 63. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser Server
    64. 64. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser Server Database
    65. 65. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser Server Database
    66. 66. Extending our diagram HTTP Request Browser Server HTTP Response Database
    67. 67. Popular databases• PostgreSQL (my favorite)• MySQL• Microsoft SQL Server• Oracle• Most popular: SQLite!
    68. 68. Scaling problems• Lots of requests? • Optimize
    69. 69. Scaling problems• Lots of requests? • Optimize• Even more requests? • Buy a bigger server
    70. 70. Scaling problems• Lots of requests? • Optimize• Even more requests? • Buy a bigger server• What next? • Panic! (Or spend lots of money)
    71. 71. Sharding• Split your data across multiple databases• This works, but... • Requires rewriting a lot of code • Maintenance is a big issue • Re-sharding as each server gets overwhelmed can be expensive, time- consuming
    72. 72. Cloud• Don’t manage your own server!• Rent a server by the hour, day, or month• Lots of requests? Add more servers!• You can even use a cloud database server • No more scaling issues — let someone else handle the headaches
    73. 73. Non-relational databases• Don’t store things in tables!• Don’t pre-define a schema• No SQL! • Indeed, known as “NoSQL” databases • Only common factor: No SQL, non- relational
    74. 74. Examples• Key-value stores • e.g., Memcached, Redis, Tokyo Cabinet• Columnar databases • e.g., Cassandra• Document databases • e.g., MongoDB, CouchDB
    75. 75. MapReduce / Hadoop• Google and Yahoo do it like this: • Split data across many servers • Run a function on all of those servers • Collect the results • Display to the user! • (Too slow? Add more servers!)
    76. 76. NoSQL: Good news• Often easier to administer, configure • Scaling to multiple servers is a no-brainer• No new programming language (SQL)!• Better fit for certain kinds of data• Better performance than a relational DB• Lots of options to choose from!
    77. 77. NoSQL: Bad news• Speed is in the eye of the beholder• Is “eventually consistent” good enough?• Non-normalized data — ugh!• Reporting can be harder• Less tested than relational databases • Can you trust your data to them?
    78. 78. Meanwhile...• Our browsers are displaying HTML• HTML had several problems: • Standardized set of tags • Making it easy for programs to parse • Semantic, display content were mixed
    79. 79. HTML standards• HTML — several versions, several standards, none universally accepted• XML — lets us create HTML-like languages, for computer conversations• XHTML — HTML for pedantic people• It was a big mess!
    80. 80. HTML5• Relaxes much of the formality of XHTML, while remaining easy for computers to read• Backward compatible to a large degree• Adds a number of tags for better semantics• Best of all: Lots of new JavaScript goodies • More on this in a moment
    81. 81. HTML5 declaration
    82. 82. HTML5 declaration<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTDXHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN""http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
    83. 83. HTML5 declaration<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTDXHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN""http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"><!DOCTYPE html>
    84. 84. New “email” tag<input type=”text” name=”email” /><input type=”email” name=”email” />
    85. 85. New “url” tag<input type=”text” name=”url” /><input type=”url” name=”url” />
    86. 86. New “date” tag<input type=”date” name=”date” />
    87. 87. Color picker!<input type=”color” name=”color” />
    88. 88. And more• Validation — built-in validation of form element inputs, via regular expressions • No more JavaScript plugins!• Sliders — more natural numeric inputs• Canvas — draw any picture you might like, and detect/change it with software• Hints in text fields (e.g., “search”)
    89. 89. My favorite• Private data in attributes!• Any attribute starting with “data-” is considered valid• A great way to stash information inside of HTML elements without violating standards
    90. 90. Oh, yeah• These don’t all work.• Many of them don’t work on any browser• Most work on only some browsers.• What to do? Wait. Or use Modernizr, which uses JavaScript to detect features.• If a feature isn’t there, you can fall back
    91. 91. CSS• Cascading Style Sheets• Split semantic markup from presentation• One CSS file can apply to an entire site• No more “style” tags in your text!• Easy to move place things, create effects
    92. 92. Ids are unique<p id=”important”>Agenda</p>p#important { font-size: 13p; font-weight: bold;}
    93. 93. Classes can repeat<p class=”important”>Agenda</p><p class=”important”>Lunch</p>p.important { font-size: 13p; font-weight: bold;}
    94. 94. It gets better• You can set styles for when the user’s mouse hovers over or clicks on an element• In other words: Cheap animation!• Many uses of JavaScript (e.g., some menus) can now be done with simple CSS• You can make beautiful sites with CSS
    95. 95. CSS3: Cool effects• Rounded corners• Transparency• Text shadows and drop shadows• Gradients
    96. 96. CSS3: Cool selectors• If you love regular expressions, then these selectors will be second nature to you: p[id=”foo”] { background: green} p[id^=”foo”] { background: green} p[id$=”foo”] { background: green} p[id*=”foo”] { background: green}
    97. 97. CSS3: Cool selectors• If you love regular expressions, then these selectors will be second nature to you: p[id=”foo”] { background: green} Equals p[id^=”foo”] { background: green} p[id$=”foo”] { background: green} p[id*=”foo”] { background: green}
    98. 98. CSS3: Cool selectors• If you love regular expressions, then these selectors will be second nature to you: p[id=”foo”] { background: green} Starts with p[id^=”foo”] { background: green} p[id$=”foo”] { background: green} p[id*=”foo”] { background: green}
    99. 99. CSS3: Cool selectors• If you love regular expressions, then these selectors will be second nature to you: p[id=”foo”] { background: green} p[id^=”foo”] { background: green} Ends with p[id$=”foo”] { background: green} p[id*=”foo”] { background: green}
    100. 100. CSS3: Cool selectors• If you love regular expressions, then these selectors will be second nature to you: p[id=”foo”] { background: green} p[id^=”foo”] { background: green} p[id$=”foo”] { background: green} Contains p[id*=”foo”] { background: green}
    101. 101. OK, that’s nice.• But really, the big news with HTML5 doesn’t have to do with HTML at all.• Instead, it has to do with JavaScript.• Remember JavaScript?• It’s the programming language that we love to hate. (At least, I used to.)
    102. 102. JavaScript• Originally “LiveScript,” a language that executes programs in the browser• Renamed “JavaScript” when an unrelated language (“Java”) stole the thunder• Renamed (officially) ECMAScript for standardization purposes • No one actually calls it this
    103. 103. HTML5 turns thebrowser into a smart,powerful, networkedapplication platform. JavaScript makes it possible.
    104. 104. Powerful? Huh?• Didn’t I just say that I love to hate JavaScript?• And then I said that it was powerful?• What gives?
    105. 105. JavaScript is the new hotness• Browsers are competing for fastest, best • Google’s V8 • Mozilla’s TraceMonkey (and JägerMonkey) • Safari’s Nitro • IE’s Chakra• JavaScript is faster, more stable than ever!
    106. 106. Also: frameworks• Remove the drudgery of JavaScript• Handle differences between browsers• Make it easy to perform common tasks• Lots of plugins available• For me, it’s the difference between pain and pleasure when working with JavaScript
    107. 107. JavaScript frameworks• Dojo• YUI• MooTools• Prototype• jQuery (more on this in a bit)
    108. 108. Ajax• One reason for JavaScript libraries: Ajax!• Make HTTP requests from within the page• No refresh! Just get results from the server, and modify the page accordingly• This has revolutionized our view of Web pages
    109. 109. AjaxBrowser Server
    110. 110. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server
    111. 111. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    112. 112. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    113. 113. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    114. 114. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    115. 115. Ajax POST /login name=reuven&password=secretBrowser Server 200 OK <html>... <p>Thank you!</p> ...</html>
    116. 116. Ajax isn’t everything• What if I want a chat application, or something else that stays open?• What if I want to execute more than one JavaScript function at a time?• What if I want to store things locally?• HTML5 provides all this — and more!
    117. 117. Canvas• A complete drawing area, in your browser!• Use JavaScript to: • Draw arbitrary shapes • Detect the mouse • Detect the drawing• The end of Flash? Maybe...
    118. 118. Geolocation• Your browser can know where you are!• It can send this info to the server• It’s not perfect, but still pretty good• To avoid privacy issues, users are always asked if their location should be shared
    119. 119. Inter-page communication• Modern Web apps can span multiple pages• HTML5 makes it easy for two pages (from the same server) to communicate• The receiver knows which server sent the data — so it can filter incoming messages, as well as screen them for security
    120. 120. Web sockets• This is potentially the biggest deal of all• Ajax allows for server connections. But: • High overhead • Stateless• Web sockets have low overhead, and they stay open as long as you need!
    121. 121. Using Web sockets
    122. 122. Using Web socketsvar weatherSocket = newWebSocket("ws://localhost:8080");
    123. 123. Using Web socketsvar weatherSocket = newWebSocket("ws://localhost:8080");weatherSocket.onopen = function(e){ alert("Opened weather socket");};
    124. 124. Using Web socketsvar weatherSocket = newWebSocket("ws://localhost:8080");weatherSocket.onopen = function(e){ alert("Opened weather socket");};weatherSocket.onmessage =function(e) { alert("Got message: "+ e.data);};
    125. 125. Using Web socketsvar weatherSocket = newWebSocket("ws://localhost:8080");weatherSocket.onopen = function(e){ alert("Opened weather socket");};weatherSocket.onmessage =function(e) { alert("Got message: "+ e.data);};weatherSocket.onclose = function(e){ alert("Closing socket..."); };
    126. 126. What can sockets do?• Chat servers• Stock feeds• Teleconferencing• Who knows? • Remember, HTTP was only invented after sockets had been around for 15 years
    127. 127. Web workers• Execute more than one thing at a time• In other words:You can run JavaScript functions in the background • Process text • Open Web sockets • Perform calculations
    128. 128. Local storage• Now Web apps can store data• A little database of name-value pairs var foo = localStorage.getItem("bar"); localStorage.setItem("bar", foo);
    129. 129. Local storage• Now Web apps can store data• A little database of name-value pairs var foo = localStorage.getItem("bar"); localStorage.setItem("bar", foo); var foo = localStorage["bar"];
    130. 130. Local storage• Now Web apps can store data• A little database of name-value pairs var foo = localStorage.getItem("bar"); localStorage.setItem("bar", foo); var foo = localStorage["bar"]; localStorage["bar"] = foo;
    131. 131. Media• Standard (well, sort of) ways to play audio and video • No more Flash!• Problem: No one format is supported by all browsers
    132. 132. jQuery• jQuery has taken the world by storm • Super-easy to use • Extremely fast • Open source (of course!) • Easy to write plugins • Lots of plugins are available
    133. 133. Basic jQuery• $(CSS_SELECTOR) returns one or more objects• Now what? • Execute something on those objects • Hang a function on those objects, to execute when a condition is met
    134. 134. Remember our CSS?<p id=”important”>Agenda</p>p#important { font-size: 13p; font-weight: bold;}
    135. 135. Fire on events$(p#important).click(function() { alert("You clicked on me!");});
    136. 136. Fire on events$(p#important).click(function() { alert("You clicked on me!");});$(p.important).hover(function() {
    137. 137. Fire on events$(p#important).click(function() { alert("You clicked on me!");});$(p.important).hover(function() { alert("Whew, they’re gone");
    138. 138. Fire on events$(p#important).click(function() { alert("You clicked on me!");});$(p.important).hover(function() { alert("Whew, they’re gone");});
    139. 139. Plugins in jQuery• jQuery’s syntax makes it trivial to do complex operations• Between powerful selectors and many built-in functions, you can manipulate text, HTML, and styles easily• But even better — there are plugins that do lots of things for you
    140. 140. Unobtrusive• The jQuery is not in the HTML file• This is called “unobtrusive JavaScript”• Good HTML has no CSS, and no JavaScript
    141. 141. $.fn.ubbi = function(options) {function ubbify(text) { return text.replace(/([aeiou])/gi, ub$1);}return this.each(function() { $(this).bind(mouseover, function() { var original_text = $(this).html(); $(this).attr({originalText: original_text}); $(this).html(ubbify(original_text)); }); $(this).bind(mouseout, function() { $(this).html($(this).attr("originalText")); $(this).attr({originalText: ""}); }); });};
    142. 142. $.fn.ubbi = function(options) {function ubbify(text) { return text.replace(/([aeiou])/gi, ub$1);}return this.each(function() { $(this).bind(mouseover, function() { var original_text = $(this).html(); $(this).attr({originalText: original_text}); $(this).html(ubbify(original_text)); }); $(this).bind(mouseout, function() { $(this).html($(this).attr("originalText")); $(this).attr({originalText: ""}); }); });};
    143. 143. $.fn.ubbi = function(options) {function ubbify(text) { return text.replace(/([aeiou])/gi, ub$1);}return this.each(function() { $(this).bind(mouseover, function() { var original_text = $(this).html(); $(this).attr({originalText: original_text}); $(this).html(ubbify(original_text)); }); $(this).bind(mouseout, function() { $(this).html($(this).attr("originalText")); $(this).attr({originalText: ""}); }); });};
    144. 144. Now activate it!$(document).ready(function() { $(".ubbi").ubbi();});
    145. 145. jQuery issues• Lots of plugins — which ones are good? • Welcome to the world of open source!• You’re still defining functions • Yes — and functions as data takes a while to get used to• Remember: JavaScript is programming, and a different sort than most languages
    146. 146. Want a Web app?• It used to be: • “What operating system, language, and database will I use?”
    147. 147. But today, it’s...• What server language and framework? JavaScript framework? Hosted or cloud?• What type of database (relational, NoSQL)? Which one? Hosted or cloud?• Do we offer an API? A mobile app? Both?• Which HTML5 features do we want to use, and how do we gracefully degrade?
    148. 148. My brain is too small!• Yes, there’s a lot to learn• Most of it can wait a little bit• There are oodles of tutorials and books that can help you• Besides a lot of this is still highly transitional
    149. 149. Whew!• There’s a lot to the modern Web• It’s fun and exciting, and continues to move forward at breakneck speed• Understanding as many of these parts as possible will help you make better decisions, and better applications!
    150. 150. Any questions?• Call me: 054-496-8405• E-mail me: reuven@lerner.co.il• Interrupt me: reuvenlerner (Skype/AIM)

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