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The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is an architectural framework for accessing linked documents spread out over thousands of machines all over the Internet. in 5 years. it went from being a way to distribute high-energy physics data to the application that millions of people think of as being “The Internet.” Its enormous popularity stems from the fact that it has a colorful graphical interface that is easy for beginners to use. and it provides an enormous wealth of information on almost every conceivable subject from aboriginals to zoology.

The Web (also known as WWW) began in 1989 at CERN. the European center for nuclear research. CERN has several accelerators at which large teams of scientists from the participating European countries carry out research in particle physics. These teams often have members from half a dozen or more coin tries. Most experiments are highly complex. and require years of advance planning and equipment construction The Web grew out of the need to have these large teams of internationally dispersed researchers collaborate using a constantly changing collection of reports. blueprints. drawings, photos, and other documents The initial proposal for a web of linked documents came from CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee in March 1989. The first (text-based prototype was opera Tional 18 months later.

In December 1991. a public demonstration was given a the Hypertext ’91 conference in San Antonio. Texas. Development continued during the next year. culminating in the release of the first graphical interface. Mosaic, in February 1993 (Vetter et al. 1994). Mosaic was so popular that a year later. its author. Marc Andreessen left the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. where Mosaic was developed. 1o form a company: Netscape Communications Corp.. whose goal was to develop clients. servers. and other Web software When Netscape went public in 1995. investors, apparently thinking this was the next Microsoft. paid 1.3 billion dollars for the stock. This record was all the more surprising because the company had only one product. was operating deeply in the red. and had announced in its press pectus that it did not expect to make a profit for the foreseeable future.

In 1994. CERN and M.1.T. signed an agreement setting up the World Wide Web Consortium. an organization devoted to further developing the Web. standardizing protocols, and encouraging interoperability between sites. Berners Lee became the director. Since then, hundreds of universities and companies have joined the consortium. M.I.T. runs the U.S. part of the consortium and the French research center. INRIA. runs the European part. Although there are noire hooks about the Web than you can shake a stick at the best place to get up-to-date information about the Web is naturals on the Web Iseult The consortium home page can be found at hp://wwww.org Interested readers are referred there for links to pages covering all of the consortium’s documents and activities. In the following sections, we will describe how the Web appears to the user. und, especially, how it works inside. Since the Web is basically a client-server system we will discuss both the client (ie.. user) side and the server side. Then we will examine the language in which Web pages are written (HTML and Java). Finally. comes an examination of how to find information on the Web.

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