History of the Internet and Web

The Internet started as a network to allow for communications between defense department researchers.  They needed a way to communicate via what became known as email, then they would post their findings in reports on the Internet.  The Internet was a series of Unix computers connected together.  The speed of the connection was slow but the researchers were communicating using text which does not need fast connections between computers.  For these researchers to communicate they would send email messages back and forth and give the address of the document they wanted to share.  This was an IP address which is 4 octal numbers separated by periods then a slash character, then name of the folder and the name of the file you wanted to share.  An example of an document address would be

The first improvement was to equate the IP address to a host name.  Such as stanford.com would equate to say which is the IP address of the server.  Now this address would be stanford.com/AtomicResearch/paper.doc, a much more human name that the IP address.  The host names were stored on each computer connected to the Internet.  The next enhancement was to use these same names in a Domain Name Service which is the same system but the names are stored on a computer called a name server and these name servers were all connected together to provide a single name for all the machines on the Internet.  Now it is much easier to find documents on the Internet.

The next issue was how to show the inter connection of all these documents on the research network.  The answer was Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML).  An HTML document contains tags these are a special series of characters that have a special meaning.  These tags are inside <> characters, there is an opening tag and a closing tag as an example <tag></tag>.   A more specific example is:
<a href=”stanford.com/AtomicResearch/paper.doc”>Paper</a>
This series of characters is interpreted as a blue word that when clicked would send you to the research paper.  You can then make a series of interlinked pages kind like a spider web, thus the World Wide Web.  You need a program that interprets the HTML called a browser and you can now navigate the web by simply clicking on these links and going between pages.

This shows the way the Internet evolved.  One improvement on the Internet lead to the next improvement.

The next step is a big one.  One of the first popular web browsers was Mosaic, which became Netscape.  HTML took on many enhancements to format the document, including adding images to your web page.  The new versions of browsers started becoming more of a render engine to render web pages compared to interconnected text documents.

This is about the time that the defense department network, was released into a public Internet.  The general public or businesses could now produce pages on the world wide web.  It did not take long for businesses to realize the value of the world wide web.

Searching –

One thing that was built into the world wide web was searching.  Each page included meta data, meta data is data about data, one part of this meta data are keywords.  These keywords are words that represent the ideas in the web page.  So to search the web page all you need to do is find the keywords that you are looking for.  One problem is advertising executives soon found out that these keywords do not need to match the text in the web page.  This is most of your searches ended up finding pages about Viagra.

Enter Google, Content is King – 

Google started a new concept.  To find relevant content in a search they the content not the keywords.  This meant that adversaries could no longer stuff the ballet box to get their content as search results.  The content needed to contain the words you are search for.  This is a big change in the world wide web.  Googles states that it is all about content, if you produce high quality content it will be found.  This started a new part of web design Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it’s related field of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).  These changes have a major impact on the anatomy of a website.


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