About the Book
One of the biggest hurdles to learning a new framework, language or tool is the prerequisite setup and configuration that needs to take place. This can be a frustrating and discouraging experience. Also, the cost associated with doing often makes experimentation prohibitive or at least restricted. That is why in this short book, I have chosen tools and services that require little or no setup, and are all free. In fact, none of them require any installation because they all run in the browser. Throughout the enitire book, you'll never have to leave the web browser.
We start off with the Cloud9 online IDE. This web based integrated development environment actually is preconfigured with most of the software we will use. It's free to get started (we won't come close to exhausting the limits of the free tier) and allows us to stage a testing environment. For production, we'll deploy to Heroku. This cloud based application hosting service provides free instances with the ability to add on services like databases and authentication. And for storage, we'll be using the MongoDB non relational database via the MongoLab service. Everything will be built in Python, a very easy to learn and use programming language which is one of the most popular open source languages on Github. The Flask microframework is also open source and will power the application.
While the application itself is nothing dramatic (it's only 75 significant lines of code), the goal of the book is to describe the process of designing, building and deploying an application. Additionally, the choice of tools gets the reader up and running as quickly as possible. This way, the reader can stay on task without being interuppted by boilerplate setup issues. All of the techiniques mentioned can be extended to build real world production ready applications. Finally, there is no finanical cost required as everything described in the book is free or open source.