What is World-Wide Web (WWW) ?

The term World-Wide Web (WWW), usually shortened to the “web,” is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed through the Internet. Although many people use the terms “Internet” and “web” interchangeably, in reality the Internet is the system that facilitates the transfer of data and the web is the data itself. The web is just one of the ways that data can be disseminated over the Internet. So the Internet is not the web and the two terms should not be confused or used interchangeably.

There are many computer languages and “protocols” used on the Internet. A protocol is simply an agreed upon format for transmitting data. Protocols determine, among other things, the type of error checking, how the interconnected devices will indicate they have finished sending
or receiving data and any data compression used. Some of the more common protocols used on the Internet include; the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Telnet, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). A secure version of HTTP “HTTPS” is also common.

Today the web mainly uses the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. Browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox are software programs that can interpret the HTTP protocol (and specific languages like HTML) and cause the data contained therein to be displayed on a computer monitor. Browsers facilitate access to web documents called “web pages” that are linked to each other using “hyperlinks.” A hyper link is an element in a web page that creates a link to another place in the same document, an entirely different document or media content of some type.

Web pages as displayed in a browser window can contain graphics, sound, text and video. In reality, the graphics, sound and video are not part of the web document. They are linked to the web document and displayed in accordance with the instructions contained in it. So the images, sounds and videos are all transferred over the Internet separately and are displayed with the text according to the instructions contained in the hypertext document.

Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist working at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) invented the World-Wide Web in 1990. It was originally intended as a means to meet the demand for atomic information sharing between scientists working at different institutions around the world. The basic idea was to merge the technologies of personal computers, computer networking and hypertext into a powerful and easy to use information system.