Understanding the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web, or the internet, was developed to allow communication among people who are geographically distant from each other. The web was developed in Switzerland by Tim Berners Lee. At the onset, it was used in CERN’s European Particle Physics Lab, but it did not take long for the World Wide Web to spread throughout the world.
In the initial stages, the World Wide Web incorporated hypertext and links to make web pages more dynamic. Now, most web pages contain rich multimedia, graphics, and sound, which demonstrate the great speed of advancement of web technology. Web pages are regarded as the backbone of the web. They contain all sorts of information in text and multimedia formats. Also, web page results can be created immediately as a response to a user’s query in a search engine.
Some of the most unique features of web pages are hypertext and links. Hypertext is a document that contains information just like any other document, but it will connect to another web page when a user clicks on it. The link on a hypertext is call a “hyperlink”, or simply “link”. Besides text, videos and image files can also be used to link users to another web document.
For accessing pages on the World Wide Web, or surfing the web, a web browser is used. A web browser is a software application that serves as the platform for navigating the pages on the web. The Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Firefox are some of the most popular web browsers available today. Multimedia is a kind of media that combines a number of content forms, such as graphics, sound, and video. Web browsers of today effortlessly integrate multimedia capabilities of the web, making the web pages more interactive and vibrant.
There are several ways to access web pages. A web page can be accessed directly by entering the web address or URL in the browser window. Pages can easily be accessed by using links on a particular web page, email, or RSS feed to move to another page or website. A user can also search for a web page by using a web directory or search engine.
The URL, or the Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a particular web page. The address of a website can be a server or a web hosting computer that is connected to the internet. Furthermore, a website also contains the IP (Internet Protocol) address. This address is a numeric value. For example, the IP address for the URL “www.microsoft.com” is 126.96.36.199, and “www.google.com” has the IP address 188.8.131.52.
HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, is the primary programming language that is used to make documents on the web. There are a number of other programming languages that are increasingly being used by web developers around the world. Some of the most popular ones include Active Server Pages (ASP), Common Gateway Interface (CGI), .NET Framework, Java, PHP, SQL, AJAX, and XML.
Today, the World Wide Web incorporates new forms of web formats and programs. The popularity of Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and web-logs (blogs) is on the rise and so is the demand for web-based software programs such as Skype Voice Chat, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN IM which facilitate real-time communication. The World Wide Web is now a global phenomenon, encompassing political and cultural borders and connecting people from all corners of the globe.