What is the WWW?

What is the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web is a way of exchanging information between computers on the Internet, tying them together into a vast collection of interactive multimedia resources.

The Web is built around hypertext and hypermedia. A hypertext document may contain keywords or phrases linked to other online documents. As an example, a person reading a hypertext document about dogs might be able to select the highlighted word “working dogs”, which will bring up another document showing all dogs that are considered “working dogs”. From there, a person can then call up another document giving more information about a particular breed. With documents intertwined by links into a web of information, you can select paths to browse online resources, a process often referred to as surfing.

Hypermedia extends the concept of hypertext to other forms of information, including images, sounds, and even video clips. A person reading a hypermedia document about dogs might select a picture of a German Shepard and hear the sound of a dog barking.

The World Wide Web can be said to define all those Internet information systems such as the Internet, as we know it, as well as Gopher,  FTP and Telnet. These resources can still be accessed through the Web, but the Web provides a wealth of additional capabilities not previously offered by the more restrictive connection methods.

Thousands upon thousands of computers around the world are now connected to the Web, offering a tremendous variety of information and services to visitors. These online documents, composed and supported by various people and organizations, are generally referred to as Web pages. Web pages are available for an amazing variety of tasks ranging from the amusing to that required by the serious researcher. You can access Web pages that let you search databases of mailing lists, see pictures of your favorite band and their concert schedule, or take a “tour” through a foreign country. Thousands of links to new services are added to the Web each day, and its growth has been explosive. You will find answer to most frequently asked questions about the World Wide Web here.

Web browsers

To use the World Wide Web, you need access to a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Netscape, a program that lets the computer you’re using communicate in the Web’s language with other computers on the Internet.

Creating a Web pages

You can also use the World Wide Web to provide information to other people around the world. Web pages are generally sets of text files that contain a special notation called HyperText Markup Language (HTML) that is interpreted as instructions by a Web browser program reading the file.

E-mail, Usenet, and the Web

Note: The Web is not a particular computer or program; rather, it’s a way for computers on the Internet to exchange information. For E-mail, you should use a shared system computer (E-mail server) account or workstation-based mail programs such as Eudora or Microsoft Outlook. You can, though, read Usenet newsgroups through some Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

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