I got started in web design in early 1993—pretty close to the start of the web itself. That’s a quarter of a century ago (gasp!), but I still distinctly remember the first time I looked at a web page. It was difficult to tell where the information was coming from and how it all worked. This chapter sorts out the pieces and introduces some basic terminology. We’ll start with the big picture and work down to specifics
THE INTERNET VERSUS THE WEB
No, it’s not a battle to the death, just an opportunity to point out the distinction between two words that are increasingly being used interchangeably. The internet is an international network of connected computers. No company owns the internet; it is a cooperative effort governed by a system of standards and rules. The purpose of connecting computers together, of course, is to share information. There are many ways information can be passed between computers, including email (POP3/IMAP/SMTP), file transfer (FTP), secure shell (SSH), and many more specialized modes upon which the internet is built.
SERVING UP YOUR INFORMATION
Let’s talk more about the computers that make up the internet. Because they “serve up” documents upon request, these computers are known as servers. More accurately, the server is the software (not the computer itself) that allows the computer to communicate with other computers; however, it is common to use the word “server” to refer to the computer as well
We’re all familiar with what web pages look like in the browser window, but what’s happening “under the hood”? At the top of FIGURE 2-3, you see a minimal web page as it appears in a graphical browser. Although you see it as one coherent page, it is actually assembled from four separate files: an HTML document (index.html), a style sheet (kitchen.css), and two graphics (foods.png and spoon.png). The HTML document is running the show.