Web Basics - Part 1

Web Basics - Part 1

The History of the Web

The internet started as a research project in the late 1960s by the United States Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The goal was to create a network that would allow researchers at different universities and institutions to communicate and share information more efficiently.

The initial version of the internet, called ARPANET, was created in 1969 and connected four universities in the United States. It used packet-switching technology to transmit data between computers, which allowed information to be broken down into small packets and sent across the network. This was a significant improvement over earlier communication systems that used dedicated point-to-point connections.

Over the next few decades, the internet grew and evolved rapidly. In the 1980s, the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland allowed users to access and share information using hypertext links. This made the internet much more user-friendly and accessible to a broader audience.

In the 1990s, the commercialization of the internet began, and companies started building websites and offering online services to consumers. The development of web browsers and search engines made it easier for users to find and navigate the web.

Today, the internet is a vast network of interconnected computers and servers, and it's an essential part of modern life. From email and social media to online shopping and streaming video, the internet has transformed the way we communicate, work, and interact with the world around us.

The arrival of TCP/IP

After the emergence of individual networks like ARPANET, one of the main problems was that these networks were using different protocols and technologies. This made it difficult to connect with them and share information with them. For example, a computer on one network might not be able to communicate with a computer on another network because they were using different communication protocols.

To solve this problem, the TCP/IP protocol was developed in the 1970s. TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, and it's a set of standards for transmitting data over networks, including the internet. TCP is responsible for breaking data into packets, reassembling them at the destination, and ensuring that they arrive in the correct order. IP, on the other hand, is responsible for addressing and routing packets across the network.

By using a common set of standards, TCP/IP made it possible to connect different networks and communicate between them. This laid the foundation for the internet as we know it today.

The birth of the World Wide Web was another significant development in the history of the internet. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at CERN in Switzerland, proposed a new way of sharing and accessing the information on the internet using hypertext links. This was the beginning of the World Wide Web.

Berners-Lee developed three key technologies to make the web work: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which is used to create web pages; HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which is used to transfer data between web servers and clients; and URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), which are used to identify and locate web pages on the internet.

These technologies made it possible to create and share information on the web in a way that was easy to use and accessible to a broad audience. The web quickly grew in popularity and became an essential part of the internet, leading to the development of new technologies and applications that continue to shape the way we use and interact with the internet today.

Contributions of Sir Tim Berners Lee

Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web, which revolutionized the way we share and access information on the internet. Berners-Lee developed three key technologies to make the web work:

  1. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): HTML is a markup language used to create web pages. It provides a standardized way of structuring content on the web, using tags and attributes to define headings, paragraphs, images, links, and other elements of a web page. HTML allows web developers to create rich, interactive content that can be viewed and accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

  2. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): HTTP is the protocol used to transfer data between web servers and clients. It enables clients (such as web browsers) to request web pages and other resources from servers, and it allows servers to respond with the requested data. HTTP is a stateless protocol, which means that each request and response is independent of any previous requests or responses. This allows for faster and more efficient communication between clients and servers.

  3. URLs (Uniform Resource Locators): URLs are used to identify and locate resources on the web, such as web pages, images, and other files. A URL consists of several parts, including the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS), the domain name of the server, and the path to the resource on the server. URLs make it easy for users to navigate the web and access the content they're looking for.

Together, these technologies provide the foundation for the World Wide Web and enable users to create, share, and access information on the internet. They have played a crucial role in shaping the modern internet and continue to evolve and improve as technology advances.

Web Trilogy

The transition from Web1 to Web2 to Web3 represents a shift in the way the internet is used and accessed, as well as the technologies that underpin it. Here is a brief overview of each phase:

  1. Web1: The first phase of the web, also known as the static web, was characterized by static HTML pages that provided basic information and limited interaction. Users could browse web pages but could not interact with them beyond clicking on links.

  2. Web2: The second phase of the web, also known as the social web, saw the emergence of dynamic and interactive web pages that enabled user-generated content, social networking, and e-commerce. Web2 also saw the rise of mobile devices and the use of cloud computing to provide scalable and flexible services.

  3. Web3: The third phase of the web, also known as the decentralized web or web3, is characterized by a move towards decentralization, blockchain technology, and the use of cryptocurrencies. Web3 aims to provide users with greater control over their data and digital identities and to create decentralized applications that are more secure and resilient.

Centralization vs decentralization is a key theme in the evolution of the web. Centralization refers to the concentration of power and control in the hands of a few large organizations, such as social media giants like Facebook or Twitter. Decentralization, on the other hand, involves distributing power and control across a network of users, creating a more democratic and resilient system.

Early examples of decentralization include Napster, a peer-to-peer file-sharing service that allowed users to share music files directly with each other, and BitTorrent, a decentralized file-sharing protocol that allowed users to download and share files without relying on a centralized server. These technologies represented a shift away from traditional client-server architectures and towards a more distributed and peer-to-peer approach.

Overall, the transition from Web1 to Web2 to Web3 represents an ongoing evolution of the web, driven by changing user needs and technological advances.

NOTE: This is just a short blog on the history of the web. This is just an introduction blog and some theory before the rest of the Web Basics blog and the Backend Development Blog.

Evolution of Web Technologies

The evolution of web technologies has been a key driver in the development of the web over the past several decades. Here is a brief overview of some of the key technologies that have shaped the web:

  1. HTML: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language used to create web pages. The first version of HTML was introduced in 1991, and it has since evolved through several versions, with HTML5 being the most recent. HTML is the foundation of the web, providing the structure and content of web pages.

  2. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a language used to define the visual style of web pages, including layout, fonts, colors, and more. CSS was introduced in 1996 as a way to separate the presentation of web pages from their content, allowing for greater flexibility and control.

  3. JavaScript: JavaScript is a programming language used to add interactivity and functionality to web pages. It was introduced in 1995 and has since become one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. JavaScript allows developers to create dynamic and responsive web pages, as well as to build complex web applications.

  4. XML: Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language used to describe data and its structure. It was introduced in 1998 as a way to provide a standardized format for exchanging data over the web. XML is often used in web services and APIs to exchange data between different systems.

  5. AJAX: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) is a technique used to create fast and dynamic web applications. It allows web pages to update content without requiring a full page reload, making web applications feel more like desktop applications. AJAX was introduced in 2005 and has since become a popular technique for building web applications.

These are just a few examples of the many technologies that have shaped the evolution of the web over the years. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovations in the years to come. You will get to see a lot more technologies than the ones mentioned here in the blogs coming ahead.

If you did find this helpful, stay tuned/like/all that good stuff. Will write on more topics. If you still have any questions/queries you can reach out to me on my LinkedIn / GitHub / Twitter.


Did you find this article valuable?

Support Saptarshi Bhattacharya by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!