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<End-to-end Ajax application development ⁄ >

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Ajax is part of the Web 2.0 technology umbrella that is gaining a lot of attention these days among architects, developers, and product managers on one side and consumers of Web-based applications on the other side. The Ajax programming technique comprises a stellar collection of proven technologies such as XHTML, JavaScript, CSS, and XML Http Request (XHR). Popular service access and data interchange techniques, such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), also lend themselves as a natural fit to Ajax techniques. Such proven strengths on the client tier can be combined with open source technologies such as PHP, Python, and Ruby to extend the Ajax story into mid-tier application development. Added to this mix is the open source database success of MySQL in the data tier.

Other natural fits with Ajax programming techniques include an equally impressive array of Eclipse-based development tools, which are open source and free to download and use. Combined together, all of the previously mentioned client-tier, mid-tier, and data-tier technologies provide a compelling, dynamite combination to experiment with and learn about Web application development. But how do you go about developing and deploying an end-to-end Ajax application? This three-part article series answers that question by walking you through an end-to-end development scenario.

A typical enterprise-grade Web application deals with factors that make it highly robust. To learn about the core building blocks of the selected open source offerings, our scenario doesn't deal with critical enterprise-class features such as security, scalability, and availability -- you should learn about these features from other sources outside of this article. All the discussions in this article apply only to a particular class of Ajax application described in our scenario. In particular, this series provides details about creating a MySQL database, designing and developing mid-tier/database logic in a PHP runtime environment, and then creating a true single page Ajax client interface using JavaScript. This series includes code samples and shows you the necessary steps involved in developing and testing an Ajax application in Eclipse and then deploying it in Firefox (client tier), Zend PHP (mid tier), and MySQL (data tier). This end-to-end discussion, which incorporates XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, XHR, DOM, REST, SOAP, JSON, XML, PHP, MySQL, and Eclipse into your application, exposes you to many of the features built into the previously mentioned open source platforms. In a nutshell, this series introduces you to an approach that results in a clean and elegant Web application design by providing a nice separation between the application tiers.

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