The lookout

The lookout

World Wide Web

Understanding the World Wide Web

From its humble beginnings in the 1980s, the World Wide Web has come a long way. It keeps communities together transcending national borders and has reduced the world to being one single huge global village without boundaries. It is a wonderful place to be in and has become such an integral part of lives that people instinctively roam the Web without realising the huge benefits that they are getting. The Web in short has become a second nature for mankind.

Here in this article an attempt will be made to trace the journey of the World Wide Web from its roots to the powerhouse that it is now. However, even though the Web is a complete separate entity it is usually talked about in the same breath as the Internet. Hence it will be relevant first to clearly establish the differences between the two.

The Internet is a huge network of computers that facilitates all of them to link up together and communicate with each other. This free flow of information between computers within the network is helped along by a series of specific computer languages which are known as protocols. For example, IMAP, POP3 and SMTP are some protocols for transferring emails between computers.

The Internet is not static and is a constantly evolving one. New technologies are making it sharper, more utilitarian and user friendly. Take the case of Blockchain. It enables digital information to be distributed but not copied. Though originally created for digital currency, its ironclad safety features has made it the much preferred technology in banking, finance and many other sectors. If you are looking to tighten your business operations through technologies based on Blockchain in Australia or in any other country, you will benefit immensely from it.

Now, just as email and Blockchain is a vital component and layer of the Internet, so too is the World Wide Web with another set of exclusive protocols which can be primarily categorised into –

  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) – Although other protocols can be used such as FTP, this is the most common protocol. This was created exclusively for the World Wide Web and is still preferred because of its simplicity and speed of operations. It requests the ‘HTML’ document from the server and serves it to the browser.
  • HTML (Hypertext markup language) – It is the language in which web pages are written in.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – This is the part that helps in the working of the World Wide Web. And is basically the address of the location where any document or information or anything similar resides on the Web.

The origins of the World Wide Web can be traced back to 1980 and Tim Berners Lee who was then working on a database of people and software with him. This project was known as the “Enquire”. He began experimenting with hypertext on devises that displayed hyperlinks. Thus by using hyperlinks on each page of a database, Tim could link together all pages within the system.

It was around December 1990 that Tim got together with Robert Cailliau to modify the original idea. They decided to combine hypertext with the Internet to create web pages but the idea did not catch on well as nobody could have an inkling of how successful this would be later. However, this did not deter the duo from further work on the subject and they developed the three primary components of the Web – HTTP, HTML and a web browser. It was this browser that was interestingly named as the “World Wide Web”.

On June 8th, 1991, Tim announced to the world the creation of the World Wide Web, a medium that today any person cannot live without.