The real power of technology for I-O becomes most apparent when you combine skillsets. This issue, we’ll be drawing connections between the ideas in my “Crash Course on the Internet” and my “Crash Course on R” to understand web applications, also known as “apps.” By the end of this Crash Course, you’ll be able to build a simple data visualization app and deploy it to the Internet for other people to see and play with.
So to start, what exactly is a web application? Remember from my Internet crash course that all interactions between your web browser and the Internet can described as a series of data exchanges. Your web browser sends a request to a server, that server sends you something in return that is hopefully what you asked for, and your web browser interprets what it receives and displays it to you. But now we’re talking about apps! Wait a second, you ask yourself – if that’s true, how can I use something like Google Docs, which seems to record what I’m writing as I write it?