IN THIS CHAPTER
History and pre-history of the web
From web pages to web sites to web applications
Web 2.0 and AJAX
Summary of what is covered in the book
Offer a historical overview of web technology.
Introduce the concept of "web applications."
Explain the focus and purpose of the book.
Provide a chapter-by-chapter outline.
Back in 1989, at CERN (the scientific research laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland), Tim Berners-Lee presented a proposal for an information management system that would enable the sharing of knowledge and resources over a computer network. We now know this system as the worldwide web (the web). Building on the foundation of existing Internet protocols and services, it lives up to its name as a ubiquitous network providing information and communication services to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
From the very beginnings of Internet technology, many people shared the dream of using the Internet as a universal medium for exchanging information over computer networks. Internet file-sharing services (such as FTP and Gopher) and message forum services (such as Netnews) provided increasingly powerful mechanisms for information exchange and brought us closer to fulfilling those goals.
Ted Nelson's Xanadu project aspired to make that dream a reality, but the goals were lofty and never fully realized. Nelson coined the term "hypertext" as a way of describing "non-sequential writing – text that ...