Dear BCB reader, Happy new year to you!!! Last year December, we were one year (Hurray!!!). Thank you to all those who have stayed glued to the blog since inception and to those who will not stop asking when I’m going to write my next blog post. Do accept my apology for being MIA, I am back now…lol. So in form of compensation, this year we will be starting on a fun note as I have taken my time to look into what you would like to learn next.
The past one year have been focused on theoretical concepts in programming. This was with the aim to provide you a good foundation as we started the Java programming journey. I do hope you have found the posts very helpful. This year, we will be going on a more practical ride – we will be going the web way. We will develop web applications from scratch and over time increase the complexities of the functionalities of the application. I will see into making the source code available on Git (“free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency”) for download and I would love to get feedback on the progress you are making.
So what is a web application?
Web application is formed from two words Web and Application, hence we can’t have an understanding of what a web application is without first understanding the individual meaning of web and application.
The Web also known as WWW(word wide web) according to Wikipedia is an information space where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), interlinked by hypertext links, and can be accessed via the Internet . The web is one of the means of accessing information over the internet, this information is accessed using URL (provides the location or address where documents can be found on the Internet).
You can picture a web using the image above, picture the kites at the edges as documents and other web resources located at different locations, the line joining them to the center as the URL used to call them, the kite at the center as the web and the white background as the internet its running on.
An Application mostly abbreviated as app is a computer program developed to perform a group of coordinated tasks or activities. We see and use applications every day. It can be as simple as an envelope you see on your phone that you use for messaging or as complex as a banking tool that you use to carry out transactions.
Now that we know what our two key words mean, we can go ahead and define a web application as computer program to perform a group of coordinated tasks or activities available on the web, identified by URL and accessible by Internet. Simply put, a web application is an app available on the web.
Someone would ask, so how is a web application different from a website?
The use of web application and website could be confusing as they seem to be so similar and have a little line separating them. For starters, they are both accessible on the web hence they both can be identified with a URL and accessed from the internet but let us look at the two words more closely.
WEBAPPLICATION = WEB + APPLICATION
WEBSITE = WEB+SITE
A Site is an internet location where information relating to a specific subject or group of subjects can be accessed.
A website is mostly defined by the information it contains with little interaction with the user. When you launch a website, you necessarily don’t have to login to the site before you can view the content but an application most times will require a user log in.
A web application can be seen as a website with an additional responsibility since they provide advanced user interactions and capabilities previously available only through installable software.
To get more interesting views on this, you can visit https://css-tricks.com/new-poll-line-web-apps-web-sites/ , It is an interesting debate there.
So, what tools do I need to build a web application in Java?
- Download Java Development Kit (JDK) and set up Java to run on your computer – see guide in previous post here
- Get a Java IDE (Integrated Development Environment), It will make our lives easier… I will be using Netbeans in my tutorials.Check here to download
- We need a database – MySQL is available online for free download. Check here to download
In my next post, I will be sharing with you how I got my tools installed on my computer. However, you will do me so much proud if you can get this ready on your own before next week. I also mentioned that the web is one of the means of accessing information over the internet, find out more about the other means.
Until then, Happy Coding!!!