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INST 377 Study Guide - Spring 2019, Comprehensive Final Exam Notes - Xampp, Web Server, Web Browser


Department
Information Studies
Course Code
INST 377
Professor
Heidenblad
Study Guide
Final

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INST 377

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INST377 Lecture 1: Introduction to Dynamic Web Content
The World Wide Web is a constantly evolving network that has already traveled far beyond its
conception in the early 1990s, when it was created to solve a specific prob lem. State-of-the-art
experiments at CERN (the European Laboratory for Particle Physicsnow best known as the
operator of the Large Hadron Collider) were pro ducing incredible amounts of dataso much
that the data was proving unwieldy to distribute to the participating scientists who were spread
out across the world. At this time, the Internet was already in place, with several hundred
thousand com puters connected to it, so Tim Berners-Lee (a CERN fellow) devised a method of
nav igating between them using a hyperlinking framework, which came to be known as
Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. He also created a markup language called Hypertext
Markup Language, or HTML. To bring these together, he wrote the first web browser and web
server, tools that we now take for granted. But back then, the concept was revolutionary. The
most connectivity so far experi enced by at-home modem users was dialing up and connecting
to a bulletin board that was hosted by a single computer, where you could communicate and
swap data only with other users of that service. Consequently, you needed to be a member of
many bulletin board systems in order to effectively communicate electronically with your
colleagues and friends. But Berners-Lee changed all that in one fell swoop, and by the mid-
1990s, there were three major graphical web browsers competing for the attention of 5 million
users. It soon became obvious, though, that something was missing. Yes, pages of text and
graphics with hyperlinks to take you to other pages was a brilliant concept, but the results didn’t
reflect the instantaneous potential of computers and the Internet to meet the particular needs of
each user with dynamically changing content. Using the Web was a very dry and plain
experience, even if we did now have scrolling text and animated GIFs!
Shopping carts, search engines, and social networks have clearly altered how we use the Web.
In this chapter, we’ll take a brief look at the various components that make up the Web, and the
software that helps make it a rich and dynamic experience. It is necessary to start using some
acronyms more or less right away. I have tried to clearly explain them before proceeding. But
don’t worry too much about what they stand for or what these names mean, because the details
will become clear as you read on.
HTML and HTTP
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HTTP is a communication standard governing the requests and responses that take place
between the browser running on the end user’s computer and the web server. The server’s job
is to accept a request from the client and attempt to reply to it in a meaningful way, usually by
serving up a requested web page—that’s why the term server is used. The natural counterpart
to a server is a client, so that term is applied both to the web browser and the computer on
which it’s running. Between the client and the server there can be several other devices, such
as routers, proxies, gateways, and so on. They serve different roles in ensuring that the
requests and responses are correctly transferred between the client and server. Typically, they
use the Internet to send this information. A web server can usually handle multiple simultaneous
connections andwhen not communicating with a clientspends its time listening for an
incoming connection. When one arrives, the server sends back a response to confirm its receipt
Request and Response
At its most basic level, the request/response process consists of a web browser asking the web
server to send it a web page and the server sending back the page. The browser then takes
care of displaying the page (see Figure 1-1).
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