Web-based apps might themselves rely on another app server to gather information that is presented on the client web browser. Also, you can write Servlets that get information from remote or local databases, XML document repositories and even other Servlets. One good use for web-based apps is to be a wrapper around an app server, so that you can allow your customers to access at least part of the services offered by your app server via a simple web browser. So web-based apps allow you to integrate many components including app servers, and provide access to this information over the web via a simple web browser.

Web-based apps are very deployable, since they don't require special Java VMs to be installed on the client side, or any other special plug ins, if the creator of the web-based app relies solely on HTML. Unfortunately, this can restrict the level of service that can be offered by a web-based app when compared to the functionality offered by custom clients of an app server, but they are a good compromise when it comes to providing web-based access to your information. In fact, in a real world scenario, both a web-based app and app server may be used together, in order to provide your customers access to their information. In an Intranet setting, you might deploy the clients that come with the app server, and in an Internet setting it would be better to deploy a web-based app that sits on top of this app server, and gives your customers (relatively) limited access to their data over the web (via a simple web browser).

Web-based apps and app servers integrate very well, and this is another reason why Java and XML make a powerful combination for developing systems that give your customers access to their information from anywhere, using any browser over the web. In the future, you can imagine various different web-based apps servicing different kinds of clients, e.g. web browsers on desktops, web browsers on PDAs, and web browsers on all kinds of different consumer electronics devices. By keeping your information structured in a pure way (by using XML), and by allowing access to this information through app servers, you can write many different web-based apps that render this information by customizing it uniquely for each different device that is allowed access to this information. This is more a more scalable solution that storing all this information in web pages, even if these web pages are dynamically generated. So you can have one app server that stores all the data in XML format. You can write a web-based app (which sits on top of this app-server) that allows PalmPilots to access this information over the web. You can write another web-based app (that also sits on top of the same app server) that allows conventional web browsers to access this information over the web. XML and Java have the potential to make this truly platform independent and device independent computing a reality.

API Coverage per category

All these application categories sound very exciting, but what APIs are involved in implementing such systems? I have compiled a list of the most frequently used APIs used for each of these application categories. This list is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive, this list should be useful for most of your application development needs. Table 1 contains a list of APIs most likely needed for each application category.

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9.6. Summary

When it comes right down to it, positioning is a very compelling technology. It's also likely to be an exercise in frustration if you're trying to get it to behave consistently in a cross-browser environment. The problem isn't so much that it won't work in some browsers: it's that it will only sort of work in a number of them, such as Navigator 4 and Internet Explorer 4 and 5. It can be great fun to play with positioning, and one day we'll be able to use it in place of tables and frames while dramatically improving accessibility and backward compatibility. As of this writing, though, it remains a great way to create design prototypes, but a tricky thing to use on a public web site.

As it happens, this sentiment may be applied to the majority of CSS2, which is given an overview in the next chapter.



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Depending on which of the three options you use to access information using your Java classes, this information must at some point be saved back to a file (probably to the one from which it was read). When the user of your application invokes a File->Save action, the information in the application must be written out to an ApplicationML file. Now this information is stored in memory, either as a (DOM) tree of nodes, or in your own proprietary object model. Also note that most DOM XML parsers can generate XML code from DOM document objects (but its quite trivial to turn a tree of nodes into XML by writing the code to do it yourself). There are 2 basic ways to get this information back into an ApplicationML file:

There are advantages and disadvantages to using some of the strategies to import and export XML. The complexity of your application data and available system resources are factors that would determine what strategy should be used.

negative values for margins. This will have some interesting effects,assuming that a user agent supports negative margins at all.

TIP

User agents are not, according tothe CSS1 specification,required to fully support negative margins, using the phrase,"A negative value is allowed, but there may beimplementation-specific limits." In the world of web browsers,though Navigator 4.x, Explorer 4.x/5.x, and Opera 3.x do permit