A Web-Based Introduction to Programming is designed for courses that teach introductory programming, or programming logic and design, and may also be of interest to anyone seeking a painless way to learn the basics of programming. The book keeps the focus on essential syntax and control structures with minimal complexity and consistent examples. Topics include: the nature of instructions; algorithm design; basic HTML and input forms; assignment statements; arithmetic expressions; string-processing operations; text file I/O; logical expressions; selection structures; loop structures; numerically indexed and associative arrays; Web sessions; functions; include files; database querying; and an introduction to object oriented programming. The final chapter and appendices provide additional topics and references to assist with ongoing development. A number of later chapters can be omitted to meet course requirements without effecting the overall course of study.
Each chapter focuses on a single topic and follows precise learning outcomes that are tested by end-of-chapter quizzes and short, targeted code exercises. The exercises are designed to help beginners build understanding and confidence: fixit exercises challenge students to identify syntax and logical errors; modify exercises require changes to existing code based on material learned in the chapter; small but complete code exercises build on work that was completed in previous chapters. The code is developed in PHP, with sufficient HTML and CSS to provide formatted output. The book comes with a pre-configured xampp distribution of a standalone Apache Web server that includes all of the textbook samples and coursework files. The software can be unzipped and installed in minutes under Windows, Macintosh OS X or Linux; Windows students can install on a USB drive and carry their complete work environment with them with no need for Internet connectivity, student accounts, or classroom installation. Alternatively the textbook folders can be uploaded to an existing Web server if this is preferred.
In addition to minor corrections and improvements, the fourth edition of the book includes: revised file/folder naming conventions that are more standard for Web applications; redesign of Chapters 7 and 8 (covering selection structures); additional material and improvements to Chapter 13 (covering functions); a new Chapter 15 that introduces Object Oriented Programming; a new install of the xamp Apache Web server distribution with installation instructions for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.