A quick overview of what's in this Web Development issue:
*Create Web Apps with Catalyst and Perl
*Intro to the Sinatra Micro-Framework
*HTML5 for Audio Applications
*Basic Web Design with Drupal 7
*Interview with Stephen Wolfram
Detailed Overview: More Than Dark Rooms and Red Lights
Developing photographs used to be a mysterious process that took place in
rooms lit like horror films, using pans of dangerous chemicals. From those
creepy rooms eventually emerged beautiful photographs of literally
everything under the sun. Web development is surprisingly similar. If you
replace the dangerous chemicals with a clacking keyboard and the red
lights with the blue glow of an LCD screen, they're just about the same.
This month, we delve into the mystical world of Web development, which turns
ordinary tags and scripts into the beautiful Web sites we visit every day.
Reuven M. Lerner is right at home with our focus this month and shows us
Sinatra. No, he doesn't teach us to be crooners; instead, he demonstrates
the micro-framework that makes small Web apps a breeze to create. If you
need to do something small, and Ruby seems like overkill, give Sinatra a try.
Dave Taylor explains how to make a small program this month as well,
but his script is a little more nefarious. If you want to be a lying,
cheating dog when you play Scrabble against your friends, Dave can help you
out. He shows how to make a shell script that finds words based on the
letters you have. As a purely educational endeavor, it's a great article, but
as of now, I will no longer play Words With Friends
with any Linux Journal readers!
Kyle Rankin continues his series on GPU-powered password cracking. Even if
you're not interested in learning to brute-force attack passwords, I
recommend reading his article. It will convince you to use a strong
password quicker than any warning I might give you. Don't tell Kyle I told
you, but I watched him enter his password once at a conference. It's just a
bunch of asterisks!
I got into the Web-themed spirit this month too. This month we're launching a
brand-new column, written by yours truly. The Open-Source Classroom is
an education-focused column, and this month, I break down the venerable
Moodle software package. Moodle has matured so much since we last covered
it, I felt it deserved some attention.
Ruby on Rails is a very popular Web framework, but Henry Van Styn knows
that it's not the only show in town. He describes how to develop Web
applications with Catalyst and Perl. Regardless of the framework you use to
develop, an application is only as good as the server hosting it. Martin
Kalin shows us the nitty-gritty of Web servers and explains
multiprocessing, multithreading and evented I/O. The Internet demands a
lot from our Web servers, and Martin helps us understand exactly how those
demands are met.
Possibly bigger than even the Web 2.0 buzz of a few years ago is the
transition to HTML5. Although to most folks it's just a bunch of geek jargon,
for Web programmers it means user interaction like never before. Paul
Freitas shows how to take advantage of HTML5 to serve up audio. No, we
don't mean those annoying MIDI files playing when the page loads, but
rather using plain-old HTML tags to play audio on your Web site. If it
sounds too simple to be true, you'll want to read Paul's article.
What if you want to develop a Web site, but you're not a programmer? That's
where content management systems like Drupal come into play. Kenneth P. J.
Dyer walks through designing a Web site with Drupal 7. The learning curve
for using Drupal traditionally has been pretty steep, but with version 7,
that's starting to change. Kenneth teaches how things work in Drupal
and gets us started on our way to developing a powerful and flexible
We never alienate our non-developer readers in issues like this, and this
month is no different. We have tons of UpFront articles,
product announcements and even some handy tips to make your Linux life a
little easier. In fact, this month James Gray had an opportunity to
interview Stephen Wolfram. Yes, that Stephen Wolfram. Whether you're a
math nut who loves Mathematica or are fascinated by the Wolfram|Alpha
computational knowledge engine, this is an interview you won't want to
So until next month, keep clacking those keyboards. If turning on a red light
will help you develop Web sites, by all means, feel free to do so. The
only dangerous chemical we recommend, however, is caffeine. If you want to
drink your coffee out of developing trays, well, I guess that's up to you.
Either way, we hope you enjoy this issue! ––Shawn Powers