Thursday, May 30, 2002

Trapped in a Time Warp? Are you currently stuck in the mainframe or mid-range world and are seeking an escape? Or perhaps you realize that your skills are growing obsolete and you want to remake yourself. Programming the World Wide Web may be your ticket out. If you're trying to break into development and are seeking a basic book that will prepare you for a career as a web developer, this isn't what you're looking for. It's neither a programming tutorial nor a book on specific environments, such as .NET. However, if you're doing maintenance programming in, say, RPG/400 or writing JCL and are wondering how you can refactor your skills and get out of the mid-range and mainframe environment this book is ideal.

Solid programming skills are assumed (preferably in C or C++, but that isn't essential). You should have a basic understanding of databases and data structures. If you have these skills this book will systematically familiarize you with the web programming environment and common tools and programming languages that you'll need to master in order to transition out of the data center. I like the way the book touches all of the key knowledge areas, starting with HTML and going through javascript, perl and the usual cast of mark-up, scripting and programming languages. More importantly, this book doesn't skim the surface - it does into databases, XML and server-side development. If you've read the table of contents and are tempted to question why CGI was included in such a relatively new book, bear in mind that most of the information in this book is ideal for maintenance programmers, and there are literally thousands of systems that still employ CGI scripts. This also reinforces my opinion about who will benefit most from this book - maintenance programmers from mid-range and mainframe environments.

In a nutshell, you bring your knowledge of algorithms, data structures and development methodologies, and the book will show you how to apply them to web programming.

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