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I joined Mozilla's Automation and Testing Team this year. I've been using python to develop web technologies for the past five years and have over a decade of programming and linux experience. I favor a first-principles and empirical (learning by doing) approach to software development. Most anyone can learn programming if they want to, like any other skill. There's no arcane magick.
I've never taught a web course so I'm not sure how this is going to work. But I'm hoping for the best!
Python (http://www.python.org) is a powerful, high-level programming language that is easy to learn and easy to make highly customizable web-sites and play with web technologies. While for many enterprise-class sites, a complicated stack of technologies and integrated web frameworks may be required to achieve complex goals, using python and WebOb (http://pythonpaste.org/webob/) -- a basic request/response object -- allows a first-principles approach to understand the HTTP protocol and making a wide variety of web sites in a flexible manner.
The course will center on using python and associated technologies to explore how HTTP and HTML works. Only the basics will be covered, but this should be enough to point newcomers with the predisposition towards making and debugging more complex sites. Students will create web services that include hosting static content, persisting data using the filesystem, middleware, generating dynamic server responses, and using a template language (genshi). The basics of REST and good architecture will be introduced covering the basics of how to view programming and good architectural design.