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Section: Application Domains

Web programming

Along with games, multimedia applications, electronic commerce, and email, the web has popularized computers in everybody's life. The revolution is engaged and we may be at the dawn of a new era of computing where the web is a central element. The web constitutes an infrastructure more versatile, polymorphic, and open, in other words, more powerful, than any dedicated network previously invented. For this very reason, it is likely than most of the computer programs we will write in the future, for professional purposes as well as for our own needs, will extensively rely on the web.

In addition to allowing reactive and graphically pleasing interfaces, web applications are de facto distributed. Implementing an application with a web interface makes it instantly open to the world and accessible from much more than one computer. The web also partially solves the problem of platform compatibility because it physically separates the rendering engine from the computation engine. Therefore, the client does not have to make assumptions on the server hardware configuration, and vice versa. Lastly, HTML is highly durable. While traditional graphical toolkits evolve continuously, making existing interfaces obsolete and breaking backward compatibility, modern web browsers that render on the edge web pages are still able to correctly display the web pages of the early 1990's.

For these reasons, the web is arguably ready to escape the beaten track of n-tier applications, CGI scripting and interaction based on HTML forms. However, we think that it still lacks programming abstractions that minimize the overwhelming amount of technologies that need to be mastered when web programming is involved. Our experience on reactive and functional programming is used for bridging this gap.