Fundamentals of Web Application Development · DRAFTFreeman


Who This Book Is For

This book is intended for those who are new to developing for the web platform or those who have some experience but would like a deeper dive into understanding the fundamental aspects of how web technologies work together.

While most of the information in this text is presented in the context of a browser-based environment, the material also has value for those whose work indirectly affects any project with a web-based user interface component. Part II – JavaScript is also useful for developers who wish to learn JavaScript for use in server-side environments, such as Node.js.

Whatever your title – developer, programmer, software engineer, designer, writer, artist, or any other – it is my hope that the material here can help you discover means by which to use web technologies to bring your visions to life.

What This Book is Not

This book is not intended as an introduction to computing or programming in general, though it may serve as a useful companion to new developers who wish to focus on the web platform as they begin their journey.

This is also not:

  • a guide on how to use any specific framework or library to build apps
  • a “definitive guide” to every single aspect of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or browser APIs

Overview of Material

  • Part I – Intro to The Web introduces, at a high level, the concept of the web and describes the paradigm of client-server communication in the context of a web browser environment operating over the internet. It briefly introduces the languages that will be discussed in the rest of the text and shows how they fit together.
  • Part II – HTML covers the basics of HTML syntax and explores various elements that serve as a foundation to structure content and make up a user interface.
  • Part III – CSS discusses the use of CSS to style onscreen elements and arrange them in a resilient overall page layout that adapts to screens of any size
  • Part IV – JavaScript explores the general-purpose scripting language in detail.
  • Part V – Web Applications brings all of the previous parts together to show how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript work together in the browser connected through modern Web APIs to enable dynamic applications.


Where new names or terms are introduced, they will be set in italic text. Small snippets of code or code-related identifiers are set in monospace text.

Larger blocks of code
are set in separate blocks
of monospace text, like this.

Further Readings

Throughout the text I include links to relevant material pertinent to the topic at hand, including reference material from standards bodies as well as articles by well-respected figures in the web development community. I encourage you to at least skim over each one in your own time in order to further build a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, as well as reinforce (or challenge!) already-presented ideas by seeing them from a different perspective.