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What is the Internet?

A computer network is the interconnection of many individual computers, much as a road is the link between the homes and the buildings of a city. Having many separate computers linked on a network provides many advantages to organizations such as businesses and universities. People may quickly and easily share files; modify databases; send messages; run programs on remote mainframes; and get access to information in databases that are too massive to fit on a small computer s hard drive. !etworks provide an essential tool for the routing, managing, and storing of huge amounts of rapidly changing data. "he #nternet is a network of networks$ the international linking of tens of thousands of businesses, universities, and research organizations with millions of individual users. #t is sometimes also referred to as the information superhighway. Development %hat is now known as the #nternet was originally formed in &'() as a military network called A*PAnet +Advanced *esearch Pro,ects Agency network- as part of the .nited /tates 0epartment of 0efence. "he network opened to non1military users in the &'()s, when universities and companies doing defence1related research were given access, and flourished in the late &'2)s as most universities and many businesses around the world started to use the #nternet. #n &''3, when commercial companies were first permitted to sell #nternet connections to individuals, usage of the network grew tremendously. "here were millions of new users within months, and a new era of computer communications began. "oday, it is estimated that over 2)) million people use the #nternet worldwide. Terminology 4earning about the #nternet can be a bit confusing at first, but it becomes a lot simpler if you can become familiar with some of the terminology used when talking about the #nternet. Here is a list of common words and phrases that you might hear. &- 5n1line 6ou may sometimes hear people talk about 7being on1line8. "his is ,ust another way of saying that they are using the #nternet. 9- %%% "his stands for the World1Wide1Web. "im :erners14ee, a physicist in /witzerland, invented the %orld %ide %eb in &''9 as a way to organize and access information on the #nternet. #ts introduction caused the popularity of the #nternet to e;plode nearly overnight. #nstead of only being able to download simple linear te;t, with the introduction of the %orld %ide %eb users could download web pages that contain te;t, graphics, and even animations, video, and sound. 3- %eb browser

A web browser is a program that runs on users computers and allows them to view and interact with the web pages on the %orld %ide %eb. "he most common web browsers are called Internet Explorer and Netscape. <- Hyperte;t Hyperte;t allows a user to move from one web page to another by using a mouse to click on special hyperte;t links. =or e;ample, a user viewing web pages that describe airplanes might encounter a link to ,et engines from one of those pages. :y clicking on that link, the user automatically ,umps to a page that describes ,et engines. .sers >surf the web> when they ,ump from one page to another in search of information. ?- %eb site @any commercial companies maintain web sites, or sets of web pages, that their customers can view. "he companies can engage in e1commerce, or electronic commerce, by describing their products on their web sites. Austomers who view the web pages can read the descriptions and then purchase products directly from the companies by sending orders back over the #nternet. :uying and selling stocks and other investments is another popular web activity. @any organizations and educational institutions also have web sites. "hey use their sites to promote themselves and their causes, to disseminate information, and to solicit funds and new members. Bven many private individuals now have their own web sites. "hey can fill their pages with photographs and personal information for viewing by friends and associates. C- .*4 "his stands for a Uniform Resource Locator. "o visit a %eb site, users type the .*4, which is the site s address, into the web browser. An e;ample of a .*4 is www.yahoo.com. (- %eb server A web server is a computer that stores a web site, and is responsible for servicing requests for viewing that web site. Client computers send requests for particular .*4s to the web server, which then finds the appropriate web page, and sends it back to the client computer. A web server on the #nternet must have a permanent #nternet connection, so that whenever a client computer requests a .*4, the web server can respond straight away. 2- #/P #/P stands for Internet Service Provider, a company whose business is to provide #nternet connections to paying customers. "he customer uses a modem to dial the telephone number of the #/P from their personal computer. '- H""PDH""P/ A communications protocol is simply a set of rules that computers use to communicate over a network. "he Hyperte;t Transfer Protocol +H""P- is the means by which

computers on the %%% communicate. H""P/ is the secure version of H""P. H""P/ is used on web sites where sensitive information such as bank details is e;changed. &)- H"@4 "he Hyperte;t Markup Language is the language used to write most web sites on the %%%. H"@4 pages typically consist of some te;t together with formatting instructions and information about what graphics or audio clips to include in the web page. &&- E@4 "he Bxtensible Markup Language is an alternative language for writing web pages. %hereas H"@4 pages describe the format of the dataFs presentation, pages written in E@4 describe only how the data is structured. E@4 provides a standard format for the movement of data in and between applications. "he data in an E@4 file usually requires some other application to interpret the data and display it in a useful format. &9- %3A "he World Wide Web Consortium is a group of e;perts who meet regularly to develop common protocols for the evolution of the %%%. "he %3A agrees on standards for H"@4, E@4 and other web technologies, and for how web browsers should interpret them. Web evelopment tools A number of tools e;ist for use by web authors +i.e. people who write web sites-. &- H"@4DE@4 As was mentioned in the previous section, H"@4 and E@4 are the two main languages used for writing web pages. %eb authors can use a simple te;t editor such as !otepad to enter the H"@4DE@4 commands. "he final page can then be viewed using a web browser. 9- %eb scripting %eb scripting is a way of creating dynamic web content. "his means that the content of the web page will not be the same every time you look at it G it will change dynamically depending on certain factors such as the actions of the person viewing the page. "his enables web authors to create web sites that people can interact with by entering te;t or clicking on different buttons. 0ynamic web content creation is made possible by running a small program called a script. "here are two types of web scripting$ client-side scripting and server-side scripting. #n client1side scripting the script is run on the client machine +i.e. the computer requesting the web page-, and in server1side scripting the script is run on the web server +i.e. the computer that responds to the request-. "here are two main techniques for web1scripting$ the Aommon Hateway #nterface +AH#-,

which does server1side scripting only, and Active /erver Pages +A/P-, which can be used for both client and server1side scripting. 3- Iava Another way of creating dynamic web content is to use the Java programming language. Iava is an ob,ect1oriented language that was designed specifically with the #nternet in mind. Iava offers two ways of creating dynamic web content$ applets, which are Iava programs which are run by a client computerFs web browser, and servlets, which are Iava programs which are run by the web server. <- %eb /ite 0evelopment Applications Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to generate professional looking web sites is to use one of the commercially available web development applications. Iust as @icrosoft %ord is an application that lets you create te;t documents, these applications are designed to let you develop sets of linked H"@4 pages ready for viewing on the %%%. "hree of the most common web development applications are @icrosoftFs =rontPage and Jisual #nter0ev packages, and @acromediaFs 0reamweaver.