Response to Weaving the Web

The reading on the process of coming up with and implementing the World Wide Web was interesting in that it raised many different questions. Previously, I had not known the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet, so the first few chapters from this book were very enlightening to me. Also, the site of the production of the Web interested me a lot. In the past, I had only truly known about CERN from the novel Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. In the novel, CERN is the site from which a canister that contains antimatter is stolen, and CERN is described as a place with incredible scientific minds. However, CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research and is never mentioned in the novel to be the birthplace of the Web, so the fact that Berners-Lee invented the Web there really surprised me. It seemed as though he too believed CERN was not the most ideal place for him to do his work. For example, when writing a proposal to create the Web, Berners-Lee had trouble convincing CERN to allow him to do so. On page 32, he states “Another reason for the lackluster response was that CERN was a physics lab,” which further emphasizes how strange it was that such an important computing technology came out of such a place.

As I mentioned above, before this reading I had not known the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet. I believe this is because the two are often used almost interchangeably in everyday language, although this is incorrect. This was confusing when first reading the chapters, because I believed the two words to be interchangeable, and thus believed Berners-Lee was incorrect in claiming he invented the World Wide Web. Yet as the chapters continued, the distinction between the two became evident. The Internet, created before the Web, connects different computers together and uses a variety of different computing languages to do so. However, the Web is only one part of the Internet and uses HTTP for hypertext. This made me a little bit confused. If the Web is only part of the Internet, what other parts exist? Are emails separate from the Web? And what about Instant Messaging? Are these separate from the World Wide Web, or have they become part of the Web as time has gone on?

Another detail that made me have questions was the idea of external and internal links. Although I understood the internal link, which could go in either direction, I had questions about the external links. If there were an external link that only went in one direction, would there be a way to go back to a previous link? (Is there a “back” arrow?). These different types of links were created so that external links could prevent information overload, while internal links could appear in both nodes, which may cause files to “get out of step.” Yet the distinction between the two and the need for both was confusing to me.

2 thoughts on “Response to Weaving the Web

  1. At this point, no one really refers to the World Wide Web anymore; the term has become archaic and almost redundant. The word ‘Internet’ has encompassed the World Wide Web and even then no one really calls in the Internet. Now it is referred to as Chrome or Safari or Mozilla or the least used Internet Explorer. I wouldn’t know what is different from the Web anymore because the Internet is primarily used for websites. All of them start with http//www. so I would think that for common use, the web and the internet are the same thing. Perhaps the Internet now is used for direct communication or streaming between two computers in a way that does not use websites. I don’t actually know however.
    Another point that I just thought of is how Lee made a profit (or if he made a profit) on the Internet. While it is a free service, the Internet isn’t a company or something that makes money. Websites make money based off of hits, but to my knowledge they don’t give a royalty to Lee. It just makes me wonder what the next chapters of the book must be devoted to, or how Lee profited from the Web.

  2. The main difference between an internal and an external link is that the external link is a two way connection to a different page, while an internal link is a one way connection to another node on the same page. Imagine you have two nodes: A and B, an external link could take you back and forth between them as many times as you like, regardless of where you start off. Conversely, an internal link could only take you one way, either from A to B or B to A. It’s true that modern web browsers have a “back” button, which allows you to go backwards through links, this is a function of the browser itself to take you to the node where you were before. If you use a link to go from A to B, pressing the back button would not be creating a B to A link, if you were to start at B you could never get to A.

    Although there is a point to be made about how organizing the web between internal and external links instead of only completely basing it on external links, the main reason it was done was to save data storage space and make the system more simpler, and therefore more reliable.

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