Brief History of the Web and a Web Workshop
Background of the Web: from Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web (San Francisco: Harper, 1999)
Brief history of the web: CERN and Tim Berns-Lee; building on the Internet; Historical context: multiple computer platforms and an accelerating network of networks
Berns-Lee, 35: “Incompatiblity between computers had always been a huge pain in everyone’s side, at CERN and anywhere else where they were used.” Different computers could not communicate with each other.
The goal: “If people’s ideas, interactions, and work patters could be tracked by using the Web, then computer analysis could help us see patterns in our work, and faciliate our working together…”
Physics as a matrix for isolating the simple radicals for common communication: “one of the beautiful things about physics is its ongoing quest to find simple rules that describe the behavior of very small, simple objects. Once found, these rules can often be scaled up to describe the behavior of monumental systems in the real world. For example, by understanding how two molecules of a gas interact when they collide, scientists using suitable mathematics can deduce how billions of billions of gas molecules—say, the earth’s atmosphere—will change.”
3 key components of the web: 36: “The art was to define the few basic, common rules of ‘protocol’ that would allow one computer to talk to another, in such a way that when all computers everywhere did it, the system would thrive, not break down. For the Web, those elements were, in dreacrasing order of importance, universal resource locators (URLs); the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTTP).
1: URL: Universal Resources Locator: offers a decentralized address system. Going from right to left in the address you find country (uk, fr, NONE=US), domain (edu, gov, com, etc.), node (company/university); server (machine) then a “/” After the / one addresses a folder of files; after one or more folders you get a file name.
2: HTTP: hypertext transfer protocol: a network protocol so computers can “talk” (send/receive) in a common language. One simple tag <html> tells the computer on the network what is being sent, without the computer having to read or translate it for the next computer down the line. When the computer that opens the file gets to it, its browser will know it is a html file.
3: HTML: hypertext markup language: a common very simple set of tags and text that allows a browser to translate the file to screen of the user, so it looks more or less the same no matter what computer it was written on.
The web is not a thing but a space: What was often difficult for people to understand about the design was that there was nothing else beyond URLS, HTTP, and HTML. There was no central computer “controlling” the Web, no organization anywhere that “ran” the Web. The Web was not a physical ‘thing’ that existed in a certain ‘place.’ It was a ‘space’ in which information could exist.
Fraught Analogy (to market economy which has a space but no single place): "I told people that the Web was like a market economy. In a market economy, anybody can trade with anybody, and they don’t have to go to a market square to do it. What they do need, however, are a few practices everyone has to agree to, such as the currency used for trade, and the rules of fair trading.”(36)
Fundamental (social and communications) principle: “once someone somewhere made available a document, database, graphic, sound, video, or screen on some stage in an interactive dialogue, it should be accessible (subject to authorization, of course) by anyone, with any type of computer, in any country. And it should be possible to make a reference—a link—to that thing, so that others could find it.”(37)
Shift from specific request of a database to the metaphor of navigation: “Getting people to put data on the Web often was a question of getting them to change perspective, from thinking of the user’s access to it not as interaction with, say, an online library system, but as navigation through a set of virtual pages in some abstract space. In this concept, users could bookmark any place and return to it, and could make links into any place from another document. This would give a feeling of persistence, of an ongoing existence, to each page.”(37)
Things to figure out how to do: Your can get help at "Getting Started with Dreamweaver"
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