Several server side technologies exist today. The first solution to bringing dynamic data to the
Web was CGI, the Common Gateway Interface. CGI provided a simple way to create a Web
application that accepts user input, queries a database, and returns responses to the client.
Then, both Microsoft and Netscape developed proprietary, server specific API's to answer
inefficiencies of CGI (especially its poor scalability). However, these API's were limited to a
particular platform. Furthermore, these API's reduced the stability of the server due to the fact
that their programs had to run within the same process as the Web server. The next step in the
continuing development of server side technologies was Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP),
and Sun's Java Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSP). Implementations for JSP and Servlets
are available on many platforms, and they provide a good way of separating code and HTML to
increase maintainability. JSP and Servlets have become today's most popular way of server
side programming for enterprise applications, while ASP dominates among smaller sites.
An effort to improve Microsoft's position in the server side application development market was
made with the introduction of the .NET platform in 2000. The goal of .NET was to regain some
of the market that was lost to Sun Microsystems due to the superior concept of Servlets/JSP
over ASP. Sun, on the other hand, recently announced Sun ONE to compete with the .NET
strategy, showing that server side programming is still evolving and improving at a rapid pace.
Since the server side application development market is still evolving, developers are
confronted with the difficulty of having to work with constantly changing techniques, and having
to make the right choice of which development platform to use.
This thesis illuminates the concept of an Open Source, free of charge development platform
and server implementation, which has enjoyed an increasing popularity. The advantages are
numerous: The latest Open Source operating system, Linux, features high reliability, stability
and a transparent technology at no cost, making it a very appealing alternative to Microsoft
Windows, SunOS or other commercial offerings. Results of a current market share analysis
among SSL Site operating systems in the United States are shown in Figure 1. Linux captures a
significant market share.
In other countries, the Linux operating system is even more popular. In Germany, for example,
Linux had over 30% market share among SSL Site operating systems according to surveys
conducted in February 2001.