World Wide Web Concepts

For most ecologists, the largest and most relevant subset of the Internet is the World Wide Web (WWW). The WWW began in the early 1990s as a collection of information nodes or documents linked together with hyperlinks, or pointers to other documents on the Internet. These documents are maintained on computers acting as web servers. People typically interact with these documents using client applications called web browsers that use hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and related protocols. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the language used to create a web document, specifying how its content should be displayed and how it should link to other documents.

A web page is an individually addressable document on the WWW. It may include text, images, tables, and forms and is addressed using a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). It may be authored by an individual or be

Figure 2 Internet concepts. (a) Firewall-protected computers in an intranet, or local area network, are connected to the Internet through a gateway. Information and data are routed in the Internet using standardized protocols such as TCP/IP, FTP, and HTTP. (b) A client application on a computer requests information from a server application on another computer, which serves that information back to the client. The computers address each other via their numerical IP addresses, which also have domain names.

Client requests data from server

Gateway

Client requests data from server

Internet

TCP/IP

HTTP

TCP/IP

HTTP

Server delivers data to client

Server IP address: 152.66.135.# Domain: bme.hu dynamically generated 'on the fly' by programs based on input from databases or people.

An organized collection of pages with a common general purpose is called a website. Some websites are considered portals. Portals provide a way for people to access a large well-defined collection of information and data that are not necessarily maintained by the same organization but which may be of interest to particular audience. The Australian government was an early leader in providing a portal for ecological and natural resources information.

Tim Berners-Lee, creator of HTTP, HTML, and URL, is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This international group recommends standards for the web as it grows and evolves.

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