1989 - The web was initially conceived and created by Tim Berners-Lee, a computer specialist from the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) in 1989. He and his partner Robert Cailliau created a prototype web for CERN and released it to the Internet community for testing and comments.
1991 - NSF dropped its funding of the Internet and lifted the ban on commercial traffic on its backbone. (***)
The most important technological development in the history of the web, besides the creation of the web itself, was the development of graphical browsers in the early 90s. Beginning with NCSA's Mosaic and its evolution into Netscape's Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, these programs allowed users to browse the resources on the web in an extremely user friendly environment.
This made the web a "fun" place and marked the beginning of the true web revolution.
Commercial enterprises could respond more quickly to the market and to demand for information.
New commercial backbones are built and of course, the marketing and popularization of the Internet came.
The Net started to move away from UNIX and other science application languages to Windows-based interfaces that were easy for the public to use.
As the Internet became more accessible, companies began to see the enormous potential for business on the Internet. In addition, users also began to see some of the incredible applications for which they could use the Internet.
New Term: Protocol : A protocol is nothing more than a set of rules. On the Internet, it is a set of rules computers use to communicate across networks. As long as everyone follows the rules, communication can occur freely
New Term: Backbone : A backbone is nothing more than a major cable that carries network traffic. Although thousands of regional private and public networks exist, most Internet traffic spends most of its trip on one of the major backbones
TCP/IP is a set of protocols developed to allow cooperating computers to share resources across a network. Today TCP/IP is the most important protocol that internet is based on.
With all the publicity and television commercials, you might conclude that the most popular use of the Internet is the World Wide Web .
Well, here's a surprise. The most popular use, even today, is electronic mail , or e-mail . That's right, good old person-to-person, "let's talk"-type communication. It is almost fitting that one of the original uses of the Internet would still be the most popular.
You can, of course, communicate in other ways on the Net. In the following sections, you look at a few ways people are using the Internet to communicate with one another.
E-mail provides you with more than just a way to write Aunt Jane a note about how things are going. Of course, many people can and do use e-mail for this very task, and it is very effective when used this way. But you also can find some more practical reasons for personal communication.
Have you ever tried to get in touch with someone and ended up playing phone tag for two days before finally getting hold of them? If you have, you know how frustrating this situation can be. Fortunately, e-mail eliminates this problem.
Using e-mail, you can quite often get hold of people who might otherwise take hours or days to get in touch with. Not only that, but by using e-mail, you can contact them on your time--no more waiting on hold or wondering whether you've been disconnected.
Just send some e-mail, go about your other business, and wait for a response to pop in your mailbox. Which, by the way, points to e-mail's biggest advantage: It's fast! It's in the Mail
Faxes are nice, but over long distances, the costs can add up. What if you had a quick and easy way to transmit instantly any type of file, document, or computer program electronically? Well, you do. With most e-mail programs, you can encode and "attach" documents to e-mail messages.
Why bother with wasted paper and time at the fax machine? E-mail your message!
New Term: Listserv : A listserv is basically an e-mail address that is configured to forward every message it receives to the e-mail addresses of the users who have "subscribed" to it. You can think of a listserv as an electronic interactive newspaper.
Listservs have literally thousands of topics for their member to discuss. Everybody from programmers to zoologists can find a listserv. If more than one person is interested in a particular topic, you can almost certainly find a listserv for it.
In the last few years, the Internet has been hit by a wave of real-time communication. The processes of getting information, talking to others, and collaborating with colleagues no longer require a waiting period.
At some point, you may want to remove the time delay between sending and receiving e-mail. You may want to converse directly with another person or have the ability to address a group of people.
Today the most popular chatting services and tools are IRC and ICQ .
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was developed in the late 1980s by Jarkko Oikarinen. It consists of a network of chat servers located all over the globe. Each server is connected via the network, allowing users to have real-time communications.
Using IRC, large groups of people can simultaneously participate in discussion groups, called channels .
A user's message is instantly viewed by all the other guests in that channel.
IRC poses no restrictions to the number of users. Tens of thousands of people connect to IRC everyday to discuss everything from world news to what they had for dinner last night.
If you can't find a channel for your topic of discussion, you can always start your own.
Actually, a few separate networks make up IRC. The two biggest are EFnet and Undernet. Some channels are shared by both, whereas other channels reside on only one of the networks. Because of the network connections to either EFnet or Undernet, you don't have to connect to the same server every time. Try connecting to the one that is geographically closest to you. Doing so may make your connection faster.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the one of the most important and popular protocols used in Internet. Any two computers from any two parts of the world can be connected to each other through FTP in order to send, get any file to/from each other.
You can use standard FTP commands in order to connect to an FTP server, then you may upload (send) or download (get) any file to/from this server (if you familiar with the command set of FTP).
If you do not know FTP commands, you may use any FTP tools (e.i.: Cute-FTP, Bulletproof- FTP) or a new generation web browser which is supporting FTP (e.i.: Internet explorer, Netscape Navigator, …) for this purpose.
One of the newest crazes on the Internet is locator services. Many Internet sites help you plan trips, find locations, take you through tours on maps, and more.
All these services start with a search engine, which enables you to search a database for information you want. In this case, the database consists of locations, highway routes, and other geographical information.
The web is a complex, international, cross platform, cross language, cross cultural mesh of servers, clients, users, databases, and quite a few artificial intelligences all talking, working, searching, viewing, accessing, downloading, and who knows what else.
As such, no one owns or controls the web. In fact, it is impossible to own or control by its very nature and design. In fact, "it" is not even an "it". You can't hold the web or make it tangible. Instead, you can think of the web not as a thing, but as a process, an action, a medium of communication.
This fact has profound implications on how you should think about designing web pages. For example, give up any hopes of maintaining intellectual property over what you distribute on the web and know that the only information that is private or secure is the information that is stored solely in your own neurons.
“ The Internet" is quite a different thing from "an Intranet".
An Intranet is a mini web that is limited to the users, machines, and software programs of a specific organization, usually a company. Since organizations are typically small and have more control over policies and information systems, intranets are often more controllable.
The two most important standards (protocols) used on the web today are HTTP and HTML. Let's look at each of those protocols more in depth...
The web is the largest client/server system implemented to date." It is also the most complex and heterogeneous one that must deal with multitudes of operating systems, human languages, programming languages, software, hardware, and middleware.
The "wires" is possibly a twisted pair network hooked into a local telephone company POP or a cable or fiber optics network hooked up to a corporate WAN or LAN that is also linked up to the national telecommunications / information infrastructure through a local telephone company.
Whatever the case, the specifics of the information infrastructure is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but should be mentioned.
Typically, these requests will be in some language and some format that the computer understands, but in English sound something like, "hello software package running on a big hunk of computer, please give me the file called "mydocument.txt" that is located in the directory "/usr/people/myname".
The "server software" will then access the server hardware, find the requested file, send it back over the wires to the "client" who requested it, and then wait for another request from the same or another client.
Usually, the " client " is actually a software program, like Netscape Navigator , that is being operated by a person who is the one who really wants to see the file.
The client software however, deals with all the underlying client/server protocol stuff and then displays the document (that usually means interpreting HTML, but we'll get there in just a bit) to the human user.
HTTP is a "request-response" type protocol that specifies that a client will open a connection to a server then send a request using a very specific format. The server will then respond and close the connection.
The details of HTTP are less important for an HTML designer as they are to a web programmer, so we will not go into the specifics here (although they are available from the Illustrated Guide to HTTP referenced in the Resources section below).
The main thing you need to know is that HTTP is a language spoken between your web browser (client software) and a web server (server software) so that they can communicate with each other and exchange files.
As a web designer, you will deal much more with the other web protocol, HTML that is discussed next.
So what does a web browser (client software) do with a file it receives from a web server (server software)? Does it just display it to the human user as is?
The answer is yes and no. Actually, in some cases, the web browser will display a document exactly the way it receives it from the web server. For example, if the document requested is an image, the web browser will display it directly. Similarly, plain text files will be displayed just as they are sent.
However, if the document is an HTML document, the web browser will " interpret " the HTML and display it according to the instructions contained within the HTML code.