New Introduction to Web Technologies
Interview with François-Xavier Bois (EPITA 2000), co-founder of digital agency KerniX on his latest book on dynamic websites.
What is your publication?
This book is an introduction to web technologies and particularly in developing PHP. It’s addressed to neophytes. This is the sixth edition. Given the rapid evolution of the sector, each edition requires a lot of fairly consistent updates. This latest edition is enriched with an introductory chapter to the concept of framework. The introductory chapter that presents web technologies in general has undergone major transformations.
How do you see the future of the Web and its benefits?
The Web is becoming every day a little more exciting. With WebSockets, SVG, canvas, drag-and-drop, access to local files, transformations etc.., we are finally able to get closer to the user experience offered by the native applications. It is a real pleasure to finally focus most of our time in ergonomics and functionality. The time of ‘hacks’ to make the code compatible across browsers is almost behind us and we are delighted! Becoming more “technical”, the new Web is proving to be a great opportunity for a structure as “expert” as ours. It should be recalled that only a few tools exist today to develop large scope HTML5 tools. Generalist agencies that use to rely on Adobe tools to prepare the work for them are now completely lost. Combined with the programmed disappearance of FLASH, it is clear that brilliant Web developers have a bright future ahead of them. What is the specificity of PHP and how does it evolve?
The qualities that have made the strength of PHP are still present today: compatibility (OS, web servers) simplicity, speed and stability. PHP has evolved, however, including advanced features such as late binding state, the “functional” dimension. These features allow you to create high-level web frameworks (such as ours, KWO) that have little to envy concurrent languages. The mass adoption by the developers of the famous frameworks remains the greatest revolution in recent years. A significant advantage of PHP for an agency like ours is the relative simplicity of recruitment. Given the fact that we train our young recruits (like EPITA’s “pool”), we are able to expand our team in a quite controlled and serene way.
What is the teaching method of your work?
While writing this book, I wished that the beginner understands the various “layers” implemented in the Web. It was necessary to make it this gigantic web which seems mysterious more “real”. In this context, the early chapters present the interaction between browsers and Web servers, and briefly introduce the Internet and HTTP. A tool like Firebug is particularly interesting in this context because it allows to spy on requests and responses. The reader can understand more precisely what happens when submitting a form or the execution of an AJAX request . Once this general picture drawn, we enter core of the book, with the introduction of HTML (form elements), the bases of language (variables, data types, control structures, function), regular expressions, the mail sending, access to databases, sessions, cookies, access to files, XML , etc.. An example is conducted as a thread throughout the book. An entire chapter is devoted to security which remains a major issue on the web.