Web development is one of the five IT pillars of knowledge, according to the Association of Computing Machinery’s 2008 draft of IT curricula recommendations. Although I know HTML and CSS, my focus is on artificial intelligence and computation. Nevertheless, I enjoy Web development and have recently decided to apply myself to learn Web technologies now in common use, such as php, Java Server Pages, and perhaps even Microsoft’s brand–ASP.
I am reading Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and CSS in One Hour a Day by Laura Lemay and Rafe Colburn. It seems to be a very good overview of the many technologies that might round one out as a Web developer. I have determined from my reading so far that in addition to HTML, CSS, and general programming knowledge, one will need to learn php. With the addition of php alone, one should be able to link Web-based forms with server-side programs, *.php scripts, to do a number of cool things, including making database queries and carrying out complex tasks. It appears that if we could get a Web server to send a command to a host that runs our C, C++, or Java programs, we could deliver almost any solution on the Web. However, most Web hosts support php, and few will host your C, C++, or Java code without additional fees. Therefore, learning php looks like the very best thing to do if you can already write HTML and CSS files.
Lemay and Colburn’s book is certainly not the only book that provides an introduction to Web technologies, but for me anyway, it is written in the right language, covers exactly what I need to know to feel comfortable and sufficiently informed to select my next technology and my next title, and as a paperback, it is a good value for $40 new and probably quite a bit less used.