WWW Introduction: Parts 1 and 2

Florian Eggenberger eggenber
Mon Oct 10 03:30:50 EST 1994

WWW INTRODUCTION        October 1994

PART 1: Overview

This is an overview of a series of postings describing the concept of the 
World-Wide Web and guiding anyone who is interested in obtaining and 
setting up the software required to access the Web.

PART 2: What is the World-Wide Web
PART 3: What is available on the Web
PART 4: How to get to World-Wide Web
PART 5: Overview of WWW client software
PART 6: Installing Cello on Windows 3.1
PART 7: Installing MacWeb on System 7
PART 8: Installing NCSA Mosaic for Windows
PART 9: Installing NCSA Mosaic for the Macintosh
PART 10: Installing DosLynx for MS-DOS
PART 11: Installing Lynx on UNIX
PART 12: Installing Lynx on VMS
PART 13: Installing NCSA Mosaic for X
PART 14: What are URLs
PART 15: Exploring the Web
PART 16: What is HTML
PART 17: Customizing WWW
PART 18: Glossary

Florian Eggenberger
EMBnet Switzerland


EMBnet Switzerland is a project funded by the University of Basel, the 
Swiss National Science Foundation, and industrial contributions from 
Digital Equipment and Silicon Graphics (in alphabetical order).

WWW INTRODUCTION        October 1994

PART 2: What is the World-Wide Web

This is the second part of a series of postings describing the concept of 
the World-Wide Web and guiding anyone who is interested in obtaining and 
setting up the software required to access the Web. 

The Internet is growing at an explosive rate. There are now over two 
million registered computers on the net which make available a huge amount 
of information to the community. The sheer volume of these data could be 
daunting to a user if there were no network-information retrieval tools to 
facilitate the data access. Amongst the many different network tools that 
have been developed over the last few years are the interactive information 
delivery systems Gopher and the World-Wide Web (WWW, W3). These network 
tools are based on the client-server model: the user runs a client program 
locally that can communicate with a server program running somewhere on a 
remote computer. The client sends a request for information to the server 
(using a standardized format called protocol), the server handles the 
request and then sends the desired information back to the client.

The Gopher project was developed at the University of Minnesota and has now 
evolved into a powerful system for offering information across the 
Internet. The information retrieved is usually text based. To the user, 
Gopher presents as a series of nested menus, resembling the organization of 
a file system.

The World-Wide Web has been described as a "wide-area hypermedia 
information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large 
universe of documents". It was invented at the European Centre of Particle 
Physics (CERN), Switzerland. Basically, WWW and Gopher are similar: both 
systems allow the user to browse information across the Internet without 
the necessity to login. However, WWW is much more powerful and flexible 
than Gopher. Whereas a Gopher menu is a list of items pointing to a 
directory or a file, WWW documents are written in hypertext (text that 
contains links to other text) and, provided that the user runs a graphical 
interface, can take full advantage of text formatting and illustration. The 
Web consists of virtual documents that contain links to other documents, 
images, sounds or even movies. To follow such a link, the user simply 
selects the appropriate anchor via mouse or keyboard which causes the 
object to be retrieved and presented to the user, no matter where on the 
Internet that object is.

The WWW world is growing very fast. There are already more than 3000 WWW 
servers on the Internet making available a wealth of information, not 
accessible by other network tools. Moreover, WWW provides a single 
consistent user-interface to access information of other services such as 
Gopher, FTP, and News. Not surprisingly, the programs (called WWW clients) 
that allow to access these data are in use at thousands of sites on the 
Internet today. An overview of currently available WWW client software will 
be given in part 5 of this series of postings.

Florian Eggenberger
EMBnet Switzerland

|  F. Eggenberger, Ph.D.       |  eggenber at comp.bioz.unibas.ch  |
|  Biocomputing                |  eggenberger1 at ubaclu.unibas.ch |        
|  University of Basel         |  Fax  +41 / 61 267 20 78       | 
|  Switzerland                 |  Tel  +41 / 61 267 22 47       | 

More information about the Bio-www mailing list