A Brief History of the World Wide Web

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The Web as it is known colloquially, functions according to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Hypertext is perhaps the Web's most important feature for it enables all web content to be linked. Web pages are created as plain text code written in the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is based on the ASCII code set. This set of tags is used to define the layout, structure and style of web content. Once uploaded onto the Web, a website can be viewed by anyone connected to the Internet.

The goal of HTML was simple: to create cross-platform compatibility. The idea was that anyone accessing a Web page would be presented with exactly the same information, whether it was accessed via a high-end workstation, a simple terminal on a mainframe, a handheld computer or a Braille output system. "The Web's creators envisioned systems that could read HTML documents aloud, emphasizing headings and pausing between paragraphs. It was the genesis of the world's virtual library"(Veen, 1997). They never anticipated the Web being used for anything other than simple text-based documents.

Businesses were quick to realize the commercial potential that websites offered and soon demanded professional-looking, user-friendly websites that represented their companies. To make their sites as impressive as possible, designers incorporated images, animation, sound and dynamic effects such as DHTML and JavaScript but this resulted in slower download times than the plain text pages, which the Internet was originally designed to transmit.

Publication Date: Friday 6th June, 2003
Author: Ukwdc View profile

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