Section 1: History of the Web

History of the Web

Unit 5, Section 1, Overview

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Video Transcript
Hi. This is Dr. Anthony Chow, and welcome to Unit 5, Section 1: The History of the Web.

The web has fast become an integral part of society today. In fact, March 2014, a landmark for the web, took place when it surpassed TV as the most used media in the world. As a world, we now spend more time on the web than watching television. Is this true of your household?

Let’s talk more about how we arrived where we are today.

While the technology necessary have been developing over several decades, it was a physicist by the name of Tim Burners-Lee who wrote a document called “Information Management: A Proposal” in 1989 as a proposal to CERN. Ironically, it was initially rejected.

In 1990, his refined proposal was accepted, and he got to work. He called his first software program the World Wide Web. In 1993, on April 30th, CERN decided that www technology would be made freely available to everyone for free.

In 1994, MIT and CERN agreed to start the W3 organization, which would help guide and provide web standards. With over one trillion public pages in 2008 and 2.4 billion people on the web as of 2012, market penetration is now approximate 34.6 percent. For more information, go to W3C. org.

Tim Burners-Lee specified three fundamental technologies as the foundation for the functioning of the web.

First, HTML. Hypertext markup language. This is the language of the web which set the standard by which browsers can interpret and then render accurately on your monitor the information and graphics as they were originally intended to be experienced by the developer.

Two, URI or what is now known as URL. This serves as the unique address for each web resource that anyone could access when made public.

Three, HTTP. Hypertext transfer protocol. These are the rules and processes whereby resources are shared and retrieved across the web.

In 1990, the first web editor and browser was called the World Wide Web, and the first web server was called HTTPD. For more information, please go to the URL below.

Let’s take a moment to distinguish between the Internet and the web. In 1960, psychologist and computer scientist Joseph Licklider published a paper entitled “Man/Computer Symbiosis,” which was the genesis for the creation of our first computer network. It was not until December, 1969 that the first four-computer network was up and running.

The core problem to be solved was controlling use of limited bandwidth in the network. The technique that solved this problem became known as packet switching, and it involves data requests being split into small chunks or packets, which can then be processed quickly without blocking communication from other parties. This is still used to run the Internet today.

So the Internet is the connection between computers, and it’s your computer’s connection to the web.

Other typical Internet-based tasks include e-mail, social networking, document storage and transfer, and instant messaging and video, audio communications, among many others. For more information, please go to the transcript below.

Huge bands of fiber optic cables comprise what are called the backbone, which are overseen by national governments and private companies and leased out to ISP companies. Smaller regional hubs are called network access points, or NAPs, which are connected to the nationwide backbones. Your ISP leases you access to the Internet, and your connection is referred to your point of presence, or POP. The connection points between networks are referred to as hops.

When experiencing Internet connectivity problems, the Internet itself is not down but your connection is. Can it really go down? Conceivably, it’s possible, but there are so many different networks worldwide it’s most likely your connection to it that is the problem.

Many universities actually have an Internet 2.0, which is just a separate connection with the same or different ISP dedicating for teaching and research due to the high stress placed on university-wide networks through students.

A quick note on wireless networking. Wireless networks work the same as radio waves. Range and amount of wireless bandwidth are always an issue. It is still a network, though, and must be connected to a wired network, at least for now.

The web is frequently called the multimedia part of the Internet. It began as pages of information that could be accessed by other computers over a network or the Internet.

HTML is the language of the web from which browsers, which are software applications, can read and translate for you the page content. Let’s take a quick closer look at HTML.

Different versions of HTML have evolved, and currently we are on HTML5. Each version has refined and further standardized the language so that HTML is written and rendered quicker and more cleanly. XHTML was an attempt to make things even more standardized by W3C. The developers worldwide preferred HTML. And so versions of HTML continue to grow and evolve.

HTML is a tag language, and you can create HTML pages in three primary ways.

First, you can just open up a text document. Notepad in Windows or Text Edit on Macs, and write it from scratch. W3’s introduction to HTML is a good way to get started here.

Second, you can use web editors such as Dreamweaver or Composer, etc. These software applications write the code for you and have relatively easy GUIs, or graphical user interfaces, so you do not have to write it all yourself. Finally, more the norm now are content management systems that allow you to choose from templates and quickly create professional websites where all you have to do is manage the content. WordPress, Google sites, Weebly among many others are good places to start.

Remember, because web browsers are software applications, they will read and render HTML code differently. The most common browsers are Google, Firefox, and Internet Explorer in that order. Currently, as of March 2014, Chrome is at 56.4 percent, Firefox at 26.4 percent, Internet Explorer at 9.8 percent, Safari at 4 percent, and Opera at 1.9 percent.

The web, of course, has rapidly evolved. In the 1990’s, the primary focus was on delivering information and that they worked. The second generation began focusing on customization and user experience, and the third generation websites utilized enhanced design and multimedia options to really emphasize the unique user experience. We’ll delve much more deeply into Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in the next section.

Now let’s touch base quickly on where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re at before touching on emerging web trends in the next section.

The concept of Web 2.0 came about after the 2000 dot com crash, which I was also, unfortunately, part of. The 2.0 came about as a way to define those dot coms that survived. Netscape is considered by many to be symbolic of Web 1.0, but the web was a platform delivery of information and services. Google is considered symbolic of Web 2.0 where the web as [sic] an application, a mash up of services designed to make our lives easier and more efficient.

For example, let’s take a look at what I have access to me through the university’s Google suite. As you see, I have access to mail, drive, calendar, sites, maps, YouTube, blogs, and photo sharing, just at a glance. This suite of services accounts for the overwhelming majority of professional activity — my e-mails, instant messaging, shared documents, surveys, calendar, and meeting requests, etc.

As Web 2.0 Google went from simply its iconic search engine to a suite of digital services, interactive applications integrated and designed to help me be more productive and efficient. It’s quite a wonderful time to be part of our information age.

Thank you for joining me. Please remember to walk through the review session and participate in the discussion forum. Also do the hands-on activity. The next section we’ll take a look at emerging web trends. I look forward to seeing you soon. Cheers.