Advanced Web Applications

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Computer Science & Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 17422

Special Issue Editors

Department of Applied Computing, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Unska 3, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: formal knowledge representation; automated reasoning; machine learning; information retrieval; semantic web
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Applied Computing, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Unska 3, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: computer-aided instruction; learning management systems; computer science education; database systems; data processing; data warehouses; mobile applications; website; semantic web
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Computer Science, University of Cadiz. Av. de la Universidad de Cádiz 10, 11519 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain
Interests: technology-enhanced learning/learning analytics; open collaboration: open source software; wikis/Wikipedia; serious games; computational thinking
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
EVAL for research group, University of Cadiz, 11003 Cádiz, Spain
Interests: serious games; process mining; skill assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Wide Web has a tremendous impact on people's daily lives. Within a few years, we have learned to use the web for a multitude of different tasks, from simply obtaining information to handling complex workflows. As a result, the World Wide Web and its underlying technologies have become ubiquitous and interwoven in different aspects of almost all everyday tasks. Subsequently, the development of progressive, dynamic, and interactive web applications is becoming increasingly important.

In the development of advanced web applications, it is not only of the utmost importance to use the latest available high technology, but it is also necessary to invent and create new approaches, as well as set future trends. It is not enough to just create fresh theories; they must be put into practice and experimentally tested so that the results can be verified by other researchers in the field.

Even today, many systems are developed mostly ad hoc and unsystematically, and the quality of these systems is not systematically ensured. Although there are well-known methods from software engineering for the design of information systems and distributed systems, these cannot be easily transferred to the development of web applications.

This Special Issue aims to publish any kind of contribution dealing with the development and innovative use of advanced web technologies, as well as the analysis, design, production, evaluation and teaching of novel web-based systems, applications, sites, and technologies. We also welcome high-quality case studies describing successful experiences with advanced web applications, as well as research papers proposing novel approaches and techniques for solving traditional and novel problems arising from their practical use.

The topics covered include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • capabilities of state-of-the-art large-scale web systems concerning scalability and resilience;
  • cloud-native and collaborative web software development practices, web architectures, and design patterns;
  • cloud deployment technologies, methods, and models;
  • data processing in Internet-scale systems;
  • web solutions for integration, usability, accessibility, microdata, and the Semantic Web;
  • HTML5 and specialized APIs;
  • HTTP2 and HTTPS;
  • web application security;
  • advanced CSS;
  • JavaScript and Typescript programming;
  • single-page web applications (SPAs) and progressive web applications (PWA);
  • WebAssembly code;
  • web components; learning management systems and electronic learning on the web.

Dr. Marko Horvat
Dr. Igor Mekterović 
Dr. Manuel Palomo-Duarte
Dr. Juan Antonio Caballero-Hernandez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Electronics is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • web software
  • HTML5
  • JavaScript
  • CSS
  • scalability
  • SPA
  • PWA
  • WebAssembly
  • DevOps
  • Semantic Web

Published Papers (8 papers)

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23 pages, 3241 KiB  
Article
Building Advanced Web Applications Using Data Ingestion and Data Processing Tools
Electronics 2024, 13(4), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13040709 - 09 Feb 2024
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Today, advanced websites serve as robust data repositories that constantly collect various user-centered information and prepare it for subsequent processing. The data collected can include a wide range of important information from email addresses, usernames, and passwords to demographic information such as age, [...] Read more.
Today, advanced websites serve as robust data repositories that constantly collect various user-centered information and prepare it for subsequent processing. The data collected can include a wide range of important information from email addresses, usernames, and passwords to demographic information such as age, gender, and geographic location. User behavior metrics are also collected, including browsing history, click patterns, and time spent on pages, as well as different preferences like product selection, language preferences, and individual settings. Interactions, device information, transaction history, authentication data, communication logs, and various analytics and metrics contribute to the comprehensive range of user-centric information collected by websites. A method to systematically ingest and transfer such differently structured information to a central message broker is thoroughly described. In this context, a novel tool—Dataphos Publisher—for the creation of ready-to-digest data packages is presented. Data acquired from the message broker are employed for data quality analysis, storage, conversion, and downstream processing. A brief overview of the commonly used and freely available tools for data ingestion and processing is also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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27 pages, 2013 KiB  
Article
Advanced Examination of User Behavior Recognition via Log Dataset Analysis of Web Applications Using Data Mining Techniques
Electronics 2023, 12(21), 4408; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12214408 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 724
Abstract
As web systems based on containerization increasingly attract research interest, the need for effective analytical methods has heightened, with an emphasis on efficiency and cost reduction. Web client simulation tools have been utilized to further this aim. While applying machine learning (ML) methods [...] Read more.
As web systems based on containerization increasingly attract research interest, the need for effective analytical methods has heightened, with an emphasis on efficiency and cost reduction. Web client simulation tools have been utilized to further this aim. While applying machine learning (ML) methods for anomaly detection in requests is prevalent, predicting patterns in web datasets is still a complex task. Prior approaches incorporating elements such as URLs, content from web pages, and auxiliary features have not provided any satisfying results. Moreover, such methods have not significantly improved the understanding of client behavior and the variety of request types. To overcome these shortcomings, this study introduces an incremental approach to request categorization. This research involves an in-depth examination of various established classification techniques, assessing their performance on a selected dataset to determine the most effective model for classification tasks. The utilized dataset comprises 8 million distinct records, each defined by performance metrics. Upon conducting meticulous training and testing of multiple algorithms from the CART family, Extreme Gradient Boosting was deemed to be the best-performing model for classification tasks. This model outperforms prediction accuracy, even for unrecognized requests, reaching a remarkable accuracy of 97% across diverse datasets. These results underline the exceptional performance of Extreme Gradient Boosting against other ML techniques, providing substantial insights for efficient request categorization in web-based systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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23 pages, 1237 KiB  
Article
Evolution of Popularity and Multiaspectual Comparison of Widely Used Web Development Frameworks
Electronics 2023, 12(17), 3563; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12173563 - 23 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1513
Abstract
Since the emergence of the first web development frameworks at the turn of the 21st century, many of them have made a name for themselves and rose to wide popularity only to be later ousted by newer frameworks and sometimes even fall to [...] Read more.
Since the emergence of the first web development frameworks at the turn of the 21st century, many of them have made a name for themselves and rose to wide popularity only to be later ousted by newer frameworks and sometimes even fall to obscurity. In our paper, we would like to depict the last fifteen years of the changing popularity of web development frameworks by observing the number of newly created repositories in open-source projects hosted at GitHub that were based on them as well as the number of questions posted on Stack Overflow regarding the respective frameworks. We analyze the correspondence between these two indicators and put them in the context of the popularity of the programming languages that the respective frameworks are based on, as measured by the TIOBE Programming Community index, in an effort to check whether one source could be used to forecast another. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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26 pages, 4829 KiB  
Article
Efficient Fingerprinting Attack on Web Applications: An Adaptive Symbolization Approach
Electronics 2023, 12(13), 2948; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12132948 - 04 Jul 2023
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Website fingerprinting is valuable for many security solutions as it provides insights into applications that are active on the network. Unfortunately, the existing techniques primarily focus on fingerprinting individual webpages instead of webpage transitions. However, it is a common scenario for users to [...] Read more.
Website fingerprinting is valuable for many security solutions as it provides insights into applications that are active on the network. Unfortunately, the existing techniques primarily focus on fingerprinting individual webpages instead of webpage transitions. However, it is a common scenario for users to follow hyperlinks to carry out their actions. In this paper, an adaptive symbolization method based on packet distribution information is proposed to represent network traffic. The Profile Hidden Markov Model (PHMM exploits positional information contained in network traffic sequences and is sensitive to webpage transitional information) is used to construct users’ action patterns. We also construct user role models to represent different kinds of users and apply them to our web application identification framework to uncover more information. The experimental results demonstrate that compared to the equal interval and K-means symbolization algorithms, the adaptive symbolization method retains the maximum amount of information and is less time-consuming. The PHMM-based user action identification method has higher accuracy than the existing traditional classifiers do. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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23 pages, 8428 KiB  
Article
Scaling Automated Programming Assessment Systems
Electronics 2023, 12(4), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12040942 - 13 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1481
Abstract
The first automated assessment of student programs was reported more than 60 years ago, but this topic remains relevant and highly topical among computer science researchers and teachers. In the last decade, several factors have contributed to the popularity of this approach, such [...] Read more.
The first automated assessment of student programs was reported more than 60 years ago, but this topic remains relevant and highly topical among computer science researchers and teachers. In the last decade, several factors have contributed to the popularity of this approach, such as the development of massive online courses, where large numbers of students can hardly be assessed manually, the COVID-19 pandemic with a strong online presence and physical relocation of students, and the ever-increasing shortage of personnel in the field CS. Modern Automated Programming Assessment Systems (APASs) are nowadays implemented as web applications. For such web applications, especially those that support immediate (on-demand) program assessments and feedback, it can be quite a challenge to implement the various system modules in a secure and scalable manner. Over the past six years, we have developed and actively deployed “Edgar”—a state-of-the-art APAS that enables immediate program evaluation and feedback in any programming language (SQL, C, Java, etc.). In this article, we look at the APAS web application architecture with a focus on scalability issues. We review fundamental features such as dynamic analysis and untrusted code execution, as well as more complex cases such as static analysis and plagiarism detection, and we summarize the lessons learned over the previous six years of research. We identify scalability challenges, show how they have been addressed in APAS Edgar, and then propose general architectural solutions, building blocks and patterns to address those challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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21 pages, 3076 KiB  
Article
System for Semi-Automated Literature Review Based on Machine Learning
Electronics 2022, 11(24), 4124; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11244124 - 10 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1768
Abstract
This paper presents the design and implementation of a system for semi-automating the literature review process based on machine learning. By using machine learning algorithms, the system determines whether scientific papers belong to the topic that is being explored as part of the [...] Read more.
This paper presents the design and implementation of a system for semi-automating the literature review process based on machine learning. By using machine learning algorithms, the system determines whether scientific papers belong to the topic that is being explored as part of the review process. The system’s user interface allows the process of creating a literature review to be managed through a series of steps: selecting data sources, building queries and topic searches, displaying the scientific papers found, selecting papers that belong to the set of desired papers, running machine learning algorithms for learning and automated classification, and displaying and exporting the final set of papers. Manual literature reviews are compared with automated reviews, and similarities and differences between the two approaches in terms of duration, accuracy, and ease of use are discussed. This study concludes that the best results in terms of sensitivity and accuracy for the automated literature review process are achieved by using a combined machine learning model, which uses multiple unweighted machine learning models. Cross-testing the models on two alternative datasets revealed an overlap in the machine learning hyperparameters. The stable sensitivity and accuracy in the tests indicate the potential for generalized use in automated literature review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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17 pages, 6559 KiB  
Article
Complementing JavaScript in High-Performance Node.js and Web Applications with Rust and WebAssembly
Electronics 2022, 11(19), 3217; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11193217 - 07 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3033
Abstract
We examine whether the novel systems programming language named Rust can be utilized alongside JavaScript in Node.js and Web-based applications development. The paper describes how JavaScript can be used as a high-level scripting language in combination with Rust in place of C++ in [...] Read more.
We examine whether the novel systems programming language named Rust can be utilized alongside JavaScript in Node.js and Web-based applications development. The paper describes how JavaScript can be used as a high-level scripting language in combination with Rust in place of C++ in order to realize efficiency and be free of race conditions as well as memory-related software issues. Furthermore, we conducted stress tests in order to evaluate the performance of the proposed architecture in various scenarios. Rust-based implementations were able to outperform JS by 1.15 by over 115 times across the range of measurements and overpower Node.js’s concurrency model by 14.5 times or more without the need for fine-tuning. In Web browsers, the single-thread WebAssembly implementation outperformed the respective pure JS implementation by about two to four times. WebAssembly executed inside of Chromium compared to the equivalent Node.js implementations was able to deliver 93.5% the performance of the single-threaded implementation and 67.86% the performance of the multi-threaded implementation, which translates to 1.87 to over 24 times greater performance than the equivalent manually optimized pure JS implementation. Our findings provide substantial evidence that Rust is capable of providing the low-level features needed for non-blocking operations and hardware access while maintaining high-level similarities to JavaScript, aiding productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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Review

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23 pages, 961 KiB  
Review
A Survey on Web Application Penetration Testing
Electronics 2023, 12(5), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12051229 - 04 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6604
Abstract
Websites are becoming increasingly effective communication tools. Nevertheless, web applications are vulnerable to attack and can give attackers access to sensitive information or unauthorized access to accounts. The number of vulnerabilities in web applications has increased dramatically over the past decade. Many are [...] Read more.
Websites are becoming increasingly effective communication tools. Nevertheless, web applications are vulnerable to attack and can give attackers access to sensitive information or unauthorized access to accounts. The number of vulnerabilities in web applications has increased dramatically over the past decade. Many are due to improper validation and sanitization of input. Identifying these vulnerabilities is essential for developing high-quality, secure web applications. Whenever a website is released to the public, it is required to have had penetration testing to a certain standard to ensure the security of the information. Application-level security vulnerability detection is possible for many commercial and open-source applications. However, developers are curious about which tools detect security vulnerabilities and how quickly they do so. The purpose of this study is to discuss penetration testing and how it can be implemented. This paper also explores the hazards and vulnerabilities associated with the web environment as well as the protective measures that can be taken. In addition, a comprehensive review and comparison of common web penetration testing tools is provided. The aim of this paper is to help web penetration testers choose a technology that is optimal for their requirements. The paper also sets out to guide and provide recommendations to users for choosing the best web penetration test tool and increasing their awareness of secure web environments. The study results indicate that not all web penetration testing tools offer the same features and that combining analysis tools can provide detailed information about web vulnerabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Web Applications)
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