The last few chapters have dealt largely with features specific to GUI applications. Speech, spelling, and QuickTime are generally used to provide rich desktop experiences. As you might expect, these applications are commonly packaged as standalone applications (detailed in Chapter 7), or at least as desktop applications delivered via the Web (detailed in Chapter 8).
However, sometimes an application needs to be controlled by, and staged on, a remote server. Online stores like Amazon.com come immediately to mind here?these applications cannot reside on a user's desktop. Additionally, speech and QuickTime become non-choices, as the remote application knows little (if anything) about the users visiting their web sites. These applications, when housed on remote servers, are called web applications. They are generally more complex than the applications discussed so far, both in development and packaging. They spread out over multiple servers in many cases, and involve the enterprise Java APIs. Of course, Mac OS X is still a great platform on which to develop these applications, and the next several chapters will explore this aspect of the Mac.
Once you move into the world of web applications, you'll begin to hear about databases. Like any good operating system, Mac OS X boasts several good database products, most notably from the open source suite of software. This chapter explains the basics of databases, and then takes a brief survey of popular databases for the Mac OS X platform.