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This is the first course in a Coursera Specialization track involving Web Application Architectures. This course will give you the basic background, terminology and fundamental concepts that you need to understand in order to build modern full stack web applications. A full stack web developer is familiar with each "layer" of the software technologies involved in a web application, including data modeling and database technologies, the web server environment and middleware components, network protocols, the user interface and basic visual design and user interaction concepts.
In this course we will learn by doing. We will start by learning the major components of web application architectures, along with the fundamental design patterns and philosophies that are used to organize them. You will build and continually refine a fully functional full-stack web application as we progress through the modules in this course. Along the way you will be exposed to agile software development practices, numerous tools that software engineers are expected to know how to use, and a modern web application development framework.
This course is also available in Spanish. To join the Spanish version, visit this page: https://www.coursera.org/learn/apliweb.
Module #1 - Web Applications in Context
This module sets the context for what we will study in this specialization by first providing a historical perspective on computing and web applications. Next we provide an overview of how the Internet works, and then we discuss how web applications have evolved over the past few decades. After that we’ll discuss some of the elements of modern software practice, including the typical tools that software engineers now use and the agile development practices they follow. The notion of software design patterns will introduced, and the n-tier architecture design pattern, fundamental to modern web application design, is then presented. Will also discuss a few current topics related to web application development. Finally, we will show you how to set up the software development environment you will use throughout the remainder of the courses in this.
Module #2 - Web Applications Frameworks
In this module you will learn about web application frameworks. We will start by talking about the evolution of software and programming languages, and then talk about software application frameworks. The fundamental trade-off we will consider is programmer productivity versus program efficiency. Next you will learn about web application frameworks, as well as the model-view-controller design pattern that is the backbone for many of these frameworks. We will also consider how these frameworks support the agile programming principles associated with modern software practice. This will include a discussion of distributed version control systems and you will learn how to use the popular Git system. We will also demonstrate how to use Git with a Ruby on Rails application. We will use Git to submit all of the programming applications in this specialization.
Module #3 - Managing Data
A successful web application provides information t
o users that is (1) useful, and also (2)
easy to access and understand. This information is
often collected from users, as well as
from other information sources, and must be stored
in a manner that allows it to be
manipulated by the web application. The typical app
roach is to store this data in a
relational database. In this module you will learn
some basic concepts associated with
modeling the data in a web application, including h
ow to specify the relationships between
various data entities. We will also investigate ho
w to hook a web application up to a back-
end data store, along with good design techniques t
hat will make it easier to use the data in
your web applications by maintaining consistency th
roughout the entire web stack.
Module #4 - Middleware
Middleware is an abstraction layer that hides details about hardware devices and other lower-level software services from an application. Middleware services implement common low-level functions, such as communication with the operating system, application servers, database servers, etc., so that application developers do not need to concern themselves with these details, and can instead focus on the application functionality they are trying to provide. In a web application, these services generally make use of the HTTP protocol, and in a web application framework, the MVC design pattern can be thought of as being implemented over the middleware.
Module #5 - The User Interface
Greg Heileman and Manel Martínez-Ramón