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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
World-Wide Web
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World-Wide Web, networking, hypertext (WWW, W3, The Web) An
Internet client-server hypertext distributed information
retrieval system which originated from the CERN High-Energy
Physics laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland.
An extensive user community has developed on the Web since its
public introduction in 1991. In the early 1990s, the
developers at CERN spread word of the Web's capabilities to
scientific audiences worldwide. By September 1993, the share
of Web traffic traversing the NSFNET Internet backbone
reached 75 gigabytes per month or one percent. By July 1994
it was one terabyte per month.
On the WWW everything (documents, menus, indices) is
represented to the user as a hypertext object in HTML
format. Hypertext links refer to other documents by their
URLs. These can refer to local or remote resources
accessible via FTP, Gopher, Telnet or news, as well as
those available via the http protocol used to transfer
hypertext documents.
The client program (known as a browser), e.g. NCSA
Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, runs on the user's computer
and provides two basic navigation operations: to follow a
link or to send a query to a server. A variety of client
and server software is freely available.
Most clients and servers also support "forms" which allow the
user to enter arbitrary text as well as selecting options from
customisable menus and on/off switches.
Following the widespread availability of web browsers and
servers, many companies from about 1995 realised they could
use the same software and protocols on their own private
internal TCP/IP networks giving rise to the term
If you don't have a WWW browser, but you are on the
Internet, you can access the Web using the command:
telnet www.w3.org
(Internet address 128.141.201.74) but it's much better if you
install a browser on your own computer.
The World Wide Web Consortium is the main standards body for
the web.
Mailing list: www-talk@www.w3.org.