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How Web Applications Work

The same core functionality of the browser that fed the Web’s phenomenal growth across platform and operating systems also proved to be an inherent weakness. After downloading the code for an HTML page and all of its parts, browsers render the page on the client side. Client-side rendering gave a universality to Web browsing at the cost of sacrificing server-side power and connectivity to data sources and other server-related functions, such as email. The rise of application server technology combined the universal access of the client-side browser with the far-ranging power of server-side programming.

All application server technology—whether it’s Active Server Pages (ASP), ASP.NET, ColdFusion, PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (often just called PHP), or JavaServer Pages (JSP)—works essentially the same way [c1-1]:


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