INTERNET TUTORIALS: your basic guide to the internet
Understanding the World Wide Web
This tutorial covers the basics of the World Wide Web, focusing on its technical aspects. After all, the Web is a technological phenomenon. Therefore it’s useful to understand some of the fundamentals of how it works.
The world wide web is a system of Internet servers that supports hypertext and multimedia to access several Internet protocols on a single interface. The World Wide Web is often abbreviated as the web or www.
The World Wide Web was developed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee of the European Particle Physics Lab (CERN) in Switzerland. The initial purpose of the Web was to use networked hypertext to facilitate communication among its members, who were located in several countries.
Protocols of the Web
The surface simplicity of the Web comes from the fact that many individual protocols can be contained within a single Web site. Internet protocols are sets of rules that allow for intermachine communication on the Internet. These are a few of the protocols you can experience on the Web:
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): transmits hyptertext over networks.
E-mail (Simple Mail Transport Protocol or SMTP): distributes e-mail messages and attached files to one or more electronic mailboxes.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): transfers files between an FTP server and a computer, for example, to download software.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): allows delivery of voice communications over IP networks, for example, phone calls.
Hypertext and links: the motion of the Web
The operation of the Web relies primarily on hypertext as its means of information retrieval. HyperText is a document containing words that connect to other documents. These words are called links and are selectable by the user. A single hypertext document can contain links to many documents. In the context of the Web, words or graphics may serve as links to other documents, images, video, and sound. Links may or may not follow a logical path, as each connection is created by the author of the source document. Overall, the Web contains a complex virtual web of connections among a vast number of documents, images, videos, and sounds.
Producing hypertext for the Web is accomplished by creating documents with a language called hypertext markup language, or html. With HTML, tags are placed within the text to accomplish document formatting, visual features such as font size, italics and bold, and the creation of hypertext links.
Pages on the Web
The backbone of the World Wide Web are its files, called pages or Web pages, containing information and links to resources – both text and multimedia – throughout the Internet.
Access to Web pages can be accomplished in all sorts of ways, including:
1. Entering a Web address into your browser and retrieving a page directly
2. Browsing through sites and selecting links to move from one page to another both within and beyond the site
3. Doing a search on a search engine to retrieve pages on the topic of your choice (See: The World of Search Engines)
4. Searching through directories containing links to organized collections of Web pages (See: The World of Subject Directories)
5. Clicking on links within e-mail messages
6. Using apps on social networking sites or your mobile phone to access Web and other online content
7. Retrieving updates via RSS feeds and clicking on links within these feeds (See: RSS Basics).
Retrieving files on the Web: the URL and Domain Name System
URL stands for uniform resource locator (or global address sic). The URL specifies the Internet address of a file stored on a host computer, or server, connected to the Internet. Web browsers use the URL to retrieve the file from the server.
Underlying the functionality of a URL is a base numeric address that points to the computer that hosts the file. This numeric address is called the IP (internet protocol) address. The host portion of a URL is translated into its corresponding IP address using the domain name system (DNS).
For example, the DNS translates http://www.microsoft.com into the IP address 188.8.131.52.
Every file on the Internet, no matter what its protocol, has a unique URL. Each URL points to a specific file located in a specific directory on the host machine. This is the format of a URL:
protocol://host/path/filename = http://www.senate.gov/general/capcam.htm
This URL is typical of addresses hosted in domains in the United States. The structure of this URL is shown below.
1. Protocol: http
2. Host computer name: www
3. Second-level domain name: senate
4. Top-level domain name: gov
5. Directory name: general
6. File name: capcam.htm
.com commercial enterprise
.edu educational institution
.gov U.S. government entity
.mil U.S. military entity
.net network access provider
.org usually non-profit organization
.ng country code for Nigeria
.uk country code for United Kingdom
Applications, commonly called apps, are small programs that run within various online environments. These programs allow you to enjoy functionalities that enhance your experience within that environment.
Social networking sites often make use of apps. For example, Facebook is well-known for featuring thousands of apps created by Facebook or outside developers. These apps allow you to play games, shop, form issues-based communities, find family or classmates, etc.
Other Internet terms
Websites: is a set of related web pages containing content such as text, images, video, audio, etc. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet address known as a Uniform Resource Locator. All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web.
Web Browsers: A web browser is an application software or programme designed to enable users access, retrieve and view documents and other resources on the internet. E.g. Mozilla Firefox, Google chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.
Web Search engines : is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages e.g Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, Ask.com, Maama, Devil finder
Discussion groups: an online forum for individuals to discuss various topics amongst each other. People add their comments by posting a block of text to the group. Others can then comment and respond. Discussion groups include web-based forums, bulletin boards, listservs, electronic mailing lists, and newsgroups.
Social Media Networks: refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.E.g. Wikipedia, blogs, Facebooks, twitter, Linked In, Youtube
Blogs: is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of posts typically displayed in reverse chronological order the most recent post appears first. Class blogs and wikis: There are a variety of Web 2.0 tools that are currently being implemented in the classroom. Blogs allow for students to maintain a running dialogue, such as a journal, thoughts, ideas, and assignments that also provide for student comment and reflection. Wikis are more group focused to allow multiple members of the group to edit a single document and create a truly collaborative and carefully edited finished product.