The World Wide Web has become one of the most essential resources for people of all ages. Schoolwork nowadays often requires students to do outside research. As such, teachers introduce the World Wide Web to students as early as elementary school. Adults often browse the World Wide Web as well, be it for their work or just for entertainment. There are many different types of websites out there. Some websites provide email services, various forms of entertainment, such as sports or television shows, or assistance in finding jobs. This report will explain what the World Wide Web is, discuss its origins, and summarize some of its uses.
What is the World Wide Web?
The World Wide Web can be broken down into five components:
The Web Browser
The World Wide Web is often used as a synonym for the Internet in regular, everyday conversations. However, the two terms carry different meanings. The Internet is is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, business, and government networks linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW).
Hyperlinks are references to a document that readers can directly follow. A hyperlink can point to either a whole documents or to a specific part of documents. All hyperlinks have an anchor, the location within a document from which the hyperlink can be followed.
A hypertext document is text with hyperlinks. Computers and electronic devices with references contain hypertexts to direct readers to other text that can be accessed immediately. Hypertexts can contain more than just running text, such as tables and images. The hypertext is the defining concept for the World Wide Web. The simple format of hypertexts on the World Wide Web makes it easy to share information over the internet.
The web browser is essential for people to access the World Wide Web through the internet. Web browsers retrieve, present, and traverse information on the World Wide Web. Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) identifies an information resource, which can be a web page, image, or video. Hyperlinks can be used to navigate web browsers.
Web pages are documents or information resources accessed through a web browser. Documents and information resources on the World Wide Web are web pages. Computer monitors and mobile devices can display web pages. Web pages are usually in HTML or XHTML format. Web pages are retrieved from either local computers or web servers. Web servers use hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) when sending web pages.
Origins of the World Wide Web
The development of the World Wide Web can be divided into five periods:
The development of the World Wide Web was initiated by Tim Berners-Lee, an independent contractor at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). In 1980, he build ENQUIRE, a personal database of people and software models, and toyed with hypertexts. In 1984, when Berners-Lee returned to CERN, he began working on the World Wide Web to create a large hypertext database with typed links. Finally, in 1990, he developed all the tools necessary to create the World Wide Web:
Hypertext transfer protocol
Hypertext markup language
HTTP server software
Early users of the World Wide Web were primarily university based scientific departments or laboratories. The only graphical browser available for computers was the NeXT. However, in 1992, Helsinki University of Technology released Erwise while Pei-Yuan Wei created ViolaWWW in May.
During this period, publicly traded companies realized that public web presence was necessary to business development. Free publishing and instant worldwide information, along with the familiarity of two-way communication over the web allowed direct Web-based commerce and group communications worldwide. Dotcoms displaying products on hypertext web pages became prevalent on the World Wide Web.
From 1998-99, low interest rates helped increase startup capital amounts. Many entrepreneurs sold ideas to investors because of the novelty of the dotcom. However, in 2001, many dotcom startups went out of business because they failed to become profitable and burned through their venture capital. Others, such as companies that began as online retailers and conventional retailers, found online merchandising to be profitable. Traditional media outlets, such as newspaper publishers and broadcasters, began using the Web as an additional channel for content.
During this time, some companies succeeded in making the World Wide Web a more compelling experience. Websites such as Google, Amazon, and eBay made the web much friendlier. Furthermore, social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook boomed during this era.
Long before the existence of the World Wide Web on the Internet, computers were already in use to coordinate information between multiple locations. In the 1970s, computer engineers in research institutions across the United States began to link computers together using telecommunications technology in an effort funded by ARPA. Computer networking used to be available only in high-tech environments. However, the spread of the World Wide Web and email services combined with the development of cheap, fast networking technology such as Ethernet, computers with internet access to the World Wide Web became prevalent around the world.
Three components of the World Wide Web were essential:
Uniform Resource Locator
Hyper Text Markup Language
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it. It is not a synonym for URI. The addresses of web pages on the World Wide Web, such as http://www.google.com/, are URLs. The HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages, making them the building-blocks of web pages. Web browsers read HTML documents and compose them into visual or audible web pages. Finally, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a networking protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is responsible for data communication for the World Wide Web. The Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium created HTTP. The current version of HTTP is HTTP/1.1.
Uses of the World Wide Web
Anyone can access the World Wide Web with a computer connected to the Internet. Thanks to the ease of accessibility, many people have come to rely on the World Wide Web for research, entertainment, and news.
Nowadays, most schools in the United States expect students to have Internet access to the World Wide Web. As such, outside research for projects and essays often require students to utilize the World Wide Web. For history, students can find information much quicker on web pages than going to the library or bookstore and sifting through books. For science projects, there are countless websites that give out free information regarding chemistry, physics, and biology. With the advent of search engines such as Google and Bing, research on the World Wide Web is common among students of all ages.
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Many people also browse the World Wide Web for various forms of entertainment. On the Web, one can stream videos from popular websites such as YouTube or Google Video, share pictures on social networking websites such as Facebook, or read web comics such as XKCD. Sports fanatics can access the World Wide Web at any time to get updates on games and watch game highlights and interviews. For the curious, the World Wide Web can provide a lifetimeâ€™s worth of information about pretty much anything.
Many major news corporations have expanded onto the World Wide Web. They all have web sites that provide fresh news for web surfers at any time of the day. Newspapers and magazines are quickly becoming less popular compared to the ease of accessing the Internet for instant news.
Without the World Wide Web, modern society would be much different. Information would be less accessible, there would be less entertainment for everyone, and there would be less communication across the globe. The internet was integral in helping the world develop to the modern society it is today. Many aspects of life are much easier now with the internet.
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