The World Wide Web, or ‘the web‘, in short, is an Internet-based global information system It makes available multimedia information from over 4 million computers around the world. the web offers video, interactive multimedia, and live audio, in addition to more basic data types, such as text documents and photographs.
The Web is the most popular Internet service next to e-mail, but it accesses a larger quantity and greater variety of data than any other service on the Internet.
Evolution of the WWW (World Wide Web)
World Wide Web (WWW) is a huge collection of hypertext pages on the Internet. The concept of WWW was developed in Switzerland at the European Particle Research Centre (Known as CERN), in the year 1989. The first text-based prototype was operational in 1991. in the month of December 1991, a public demonstration was given at Hypertext 91 conference in San Antonio, Texas (USA). In the year 1993, the first graphical interface software package called Mosaic was released.
Hypertext enables you to read and navigate the text and visual information in a nonlinear way based on what you want to know next, unlike a textbook where the subject is described continuously or linearly.
The Mosaic became so popular that a year later, the author of Mosaic namely, Marc Andreessen left the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where Mosaic was developed forming a company called Netscape Communications Corporation. This company developed clients, servers, and other Web software.
In the year 1994, CERN and MIT of the USA signed an agreement setting up the World Wide Web Consortium, an organization devoted to further developing the Web, standardizing protocols, and interoperability between sites. since this time, hundreds of universities and companies have joined the Consortium.
In the first year after Mosaic was released the number of WWW servers grew from 100 to 7000. The growth is expected to be exponential in the years to come and will probably be the force driving the technology and use of the Internet in every walk of life of human beings.
All the Web servers on the Internet are collectively referred to as the World Wide Web. The @3 Consortium is the closest anyone gets to setting the standards for and enforcing rules about the Worldwide Web. you can visit the Consortium’s home page at http:/www.w3.org/. the second group of organizations that influences the Web is the browser developers themselves, most notably Netscape Communications Corporation and Microsoft Corporation of USA.
To access the Web server, we use client software called a browser program. with a browser, we can choose an element on the Web page, which can then cross-link us to computer animation, play sound, or show another Web page. The browser can even contact another Web server located across the world.
Basic Features of WWW
The Web is one of the most flexible and exciting tools for surfing the Internet. Using Mosaic viewer, the WWW made it possible for a site to set up a number of pages of information containing text, pictures, sound, and even video with embedded links to other pages. By clicking on a link, the user is moved to the page pointed to by that link. For example, a company can get a home page with entries pointing to other pages for product information, price lists, sales, technical support, communication with employees, stockholder information, etc.
Hypertext Information System
The idea behind hypertext is that instead of reading text in a rigid, linear structure (such as a book), you can skip easily from one point to another. you can get more information, go back, jump to other topics, and navigate through the text based on what interests you at a time in the World Wide Web.
If the information does not take up much disk space, then it is freely available, and you could get it reasonably quickly anytime you wanted. The worldwide web provides more information than you could ever digest in a lifetime, linked together in various ways, available for you to browse whenever you want.
Graphical and Easy to Navigate
One of the best features of the Web is its ability to display both text and graphics in full color on the same page. Before the Web, using the Internet involved simple text-only connections or complicated interfaces or encoding to view graphics.
The Web now provides capabilities for graphics, sound, and video to be incorporated with the text, Newer Web browsers included capabilities for multimedia and embedded applications. More importantly, the interface to all this is easily navigable just jumping from link to link, from page to page across sites and servers.
If you can access the Internet, you can access the World Wide Web regardless of whether you are running on a low-end PC or an expensive graphics workstation. you can be using a simple text-only modem connection, a small 14-inch black and white monitor or a 21-inch graphics accelerated display system. The World Wide Web is not limited to any one kind of machine or developed by any one company. The Web is entirely cross-platform.
Cross-platform means that you can access Web information equally well from any computer hardware running any operating system using any type of display
The Web is Distributed
The Web is successful in providing so much information because that information is distributed globally across thousands of Web sites, each of which contributes the space for the information it publishes. you, as a consumer of that information, go to that site to view the information. when you are done, you go somewhere else, and your system reclaims the disk space. you do not have to install it, or change disks, or do anything other than point your browser at that site.
The Web is Dynamic
Because information on the Web is contained on the site that published it, the people who published it in the first place can update it at any time. if you are browsing that information, you do not have to install a new version of the help system, buy another book or call technical support to get updated information. Just point your browser and check out what is up there.
An example is the development effort for a Web server called Apache. It is being developed and tested through a core of volunteers. It has many features of the larger commercial servers, and above all it is free. The Apache website at http://www.apache.org is the central location for information about the Apache software, documentation, and the server software itself. Because the site can be updated at any time, new releases can be distributed quickly and easily. New information and news can be published almost immediately.
Accessing Many Forms of Internet Information
There are dozens of different ways of getting the information on the Net namely, FTP, Gopher, Usenet news, WAIS databases, Telnet, and e-mail. Before the Web became as popular as it is now, to get to these different kinds of information you had to use different tools for each one, all of which had to be installed and all of which used different commands.
Web browsers namely Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator have changed all this. Although the Web itself has its own information system, with its own Internet protocol (HTTP, the HyperText Transfer Protocol), Web browsers can also read files from other Internet services and you can create links to information on those systems just as you would create links to information on Web pages.
To use your browser to get different types of information on the Internet, you use different kinds of URLs. Most URLs start with HTTP: which indicates a file at an actual Website.
To get to a file on the Web using FTP, you would use a URL that looks:
To use a Gopher server from a Web browser, you should use a URL that looks something like this:gopher://name_of_gopher_server
The Web is Interactive
Interactivity is the ability to ‘talk back to the Web server. Unlike television, the Web is interactive. It means the act of selecting a link and jumping to another Web page to go somewhere else on the Web. In addition to this simple interactivity, the Web also enables you to communicate with the publishers of the pages you are surfing.
For example, pages can be designed that contain interactive forms which readers can fill out. Forms can contain text entry areas, radio buttons, or simple menus of items. When the form is ‘submitted’, the information you typed is sent back to the server where the pages originated.
You use forms for the following purposes:
- To get feedback about your pages.
- To get information from your readers (survey, voting, demographic).
- To provide online order forms for products or services available on the Web.
- To create ‘guest books’ and conferencing systems that enable your readers to post their own information on your pages. These types of systems enable your readers to communicate not only with you but with other readers of your pages as well.
In addition to forms, advanced features of Web development provide more facilities. For example, Jaa and Shockwave enable you to include entire programs and games inside Web pages. Developments in the 3D world enable you and your readers to browse the Web as if they were wandering through real three-dimensional rooms and meeting other people. Thus, the web is a medium for reaching and communicating with other people all over the world.