World Wide Web
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
World Wide Web
World Wide Web (WWW or W3), collection of globally distributed text and multimedia documents and files and other network services linked in such a way as to create an immense electronic library from which information can be retrieved quickly by intuitive searches. The Web represents the application of hypertext technology and a graphical interface to the Internet to retrieve information that is contained in specially formatted documents that may reside in the same computer or be distributed across many computers around the world. It consists of three main elements. The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) comprises the programming codes, or tags, that define fonts, layouts, embedded graphics, and links (hyperlinks) to other documents accessible via the Web. The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) defines a set of standards for transmitting Web pages across the Internet. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a standardized naming convention for identifying a Web document, image, or other file by its location, in a sense the address of a file. The result is called the Web because it is made up of many sites, all linked together, with users traveling from one site to the next by clicking a computer's pointing device on a hyperlink.
Web sites, also called Web pages, are really Internet sites that all use the same techniques and HTML tags to create multimedia documents with hypertext links. Each Web page can contain many screens or printed pages of text, graphics, audio, and even video, and the starting point for any Web site is called its home page. Although each page is an Internet site, it must be accessed via a special program called a Web browser, which can translate the HTML into the graphical images, text, and hypertext links intended by the creator of the page.
Interactive television is a generic term that encompasses a variety of Web-related television technologies and products. Typically, a home television receiver and a telephone line are connected through a small appliance that accesses the Internet through the telephone line and converts the downloaded Web pages into a form that can be displayed on the receiver. A remote control interface allows the user to navigate through the Web and select the information to be displayed.
Ted Nelson, an American computer consultant, had promoted the idea of linking documents via hypertext during the 1960s, but the technology required was not to be available for another 20 years. The foundation of what we now think of as the Web originated with work done on the retrieval of information from distributed systems by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN during the 1980s. This culminated in the introduction of a text-only interface, or browser, to the scientific community in 1990 and to the public in 1991. Because of the difficulty of using this version, acceptance outside the scientific and academic communities was slow. Marc Andreessen, an undergraduate student working at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), developed a graphical browser for the Web, introducing a UNIX version in 1993. Versions for the Windows and Macintosh operating systems followed in 1994, and acceptance of the World Wide Web blossomed quickly. In the late 1990s the development of improved browsers with greater multimedia functionality, security, and privacy, as well as more powerful search engines capable of indexing the ever greater information on the Web, led to the commercialization of the Internet (see e-commerce).
See P. Whitehead and R. Maran, Internet and World Wide Web: Simplified (2d ed. 1997); E. Wilde, Wilde's WWW: Technical Foundations of the World Wide Web (1997); A. Glossbrenner and E. Glossbrenner, Search Engines: For the World Wide Web (2d ed. 1998); S. Western, The Complete Beginner's Guide to the World Wide Web (1998); T. Berners-Lee and M. Fischetti, Weaving the Web (1999).
World Wide Web (www)the information organised on the INTERNET that utilises URL (Universal Resource Locator) characters to identify locations.
World Wide Web[¦wərld ¦wīd ′web]
World Wide Web
World Wide Web(1) (WorldWideWeb) The first Web browser, written by Tim Berners Lee and introduced in early 1991. It ran on the NeXT platform, which was also used as the first Web server. See NeXT.
(2) (World Wide Web) An Internet-based system that enables an individual or a company to publish itself to the entire world, except in countries or locations that prohibit the free interchange of information. The Web is the world's largest online shopping mall and the world's largest source of information, news and commentary. To understand the difference between the Web and the Internet, see Web vs. Internet.
The "Web" is made up of "Web servers," which are computers that store and disseminate "Web pages" to anyone with an Internet connection. Web pages are interactive documents that contain text, graphics, animations and videos. The pages often contain embedded programs that cause them to function the same as software that users install in their computers, smartphones or tablets. As a result, the Web is a "global server" that provides a source of all applications and data (see Web 2.0).
Hyperlinks and Web Addresses
The salient feature of the Web is the hyperlink, which connects each page to each other by address, whether on the same website or on a site half way around the world. In the mid-1990s, the novel concept of "click here" caused the Web to explode. The address of a website or page within the site is known as the "uniform resource locator" (see URL).
The Web Browser
Web pages are accessed by the user via a Web browser application such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The browser renders the pages on screen, executes embedded scripts and enables access to millions of websites for information and entertainment. See Web browser and The World.
HTML Is the Rendering Format
A Web page is a text document coded with HTML tags that define how the text and graphics are displayed on screen. Web pages can be created with any text editor or word processor. They are also created in HTML authoring programs that provide a graphical interface for designing the layout, and such programs generate the HTML tags. The ease of page creation helped fuel the Web's growth.
Websites Are Made Up of HTML Files
A website is a collection of Web pages (HTML files). Large organizations deploy their public websites either on in-house servers, on their own servers co-located in a facility that provides power and Internet access or on servers in a cloud service (see cloud computing). Such public sites may contain hundreds and thousands of pages and databases that hold millions of records.
Small to medium websites are often maintained by third-party hosting companies for fees that start as little as $5 a month. They can also be hosted by the same Internet service providers (ISPs) that deliver Internet access to the building. For individuals who want their own website, many ISPs host a personal site at no extra cost, although typically limited by size and traffic.
The public Web spawned the private "intranet," an in-house website for employees. Protected via a firewall that lets employees access the Internet, the firewall restricts uninvited users from viewing internal information. There is no difference in hardware and software architecture between a private website (intranet) and a public website. The difference is who has access.
HTTP Can Deliver Anything
HTML pages are transmitted to the user via the HTTP protocol. A Web server stores HTML pages for a website, but it can also be a storehouse for any kind of file delivered to a client application via HTTP. For example, the Windows version of this encyclopedia is available as an HTTP application. The content is hosted on the Computer Language Company's Web server and delivered to the encyclopedia client program in the user's PC. The Windows client is an HTTP-enabled version of the program first introduced in 1996 for stand-alone PCs.
Where It Came From - Where It's Going
The Web was developed at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva from a proposal by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. It was created to share research information on nuclear physics. In 1991, the first command line browser was introduced. By the start of 1993, there were approximately 50 Web servers, and the Voila X Window browser provided the first graphical capability. In that same year, the graphics-based Mosaic browser was introduced (see Mosaic), CERN launched its Mac browser, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in Chicago debuted the X Window version of Mosaic.
From a Couple Hundred to a Trillion URLs
By 1994, there were approximately 500 websites, and, by the start of 1995, nearly 10,000. By the turn of the century, there were more than 30 million registered domain names. A decade later, more than a hundred million new domains were added. In 2010, Google claimed it found a trillion unique addresses (URLs) on the Web as it maneuvered from site to site to populate its search engine.
Everyone Has a Vested Interest
ISPs, cable and telephone companies want to sell more connectivity. Webmasters want visitors. IT managers want security. The publishing industry wants to preserve its copyrights. Software publishers want to sell more Web-based products, and hardware companies want to sell more Internet infrastructure.
From Anywhere to Anywhere
Using Web-based protocols and mobile devices, the Web has enabled anyone within reach of a cell tower to monitor or analyze an activity anywhere on the planet as well as obtain information and make every conceivable business transaction no matter the time of day. The Web changed the world. See first website, Web 2.0, Internet, HTTP, HTML, World Wide Wait and Wild Wooly Web.
|Accessing a Web document requires typing in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) address of the home page in your Web browser. The home page contains links to other documents that can be stored on the same server or on a server anywhere in the world.|