The World Wide Web
"The Web isn't better than sex, but sliced bread is in serious trouble" (Anon)
- What is the Web?
- Hypertext and Hyperlinks
- What's So Great About Hyperlinks?
- What Is A Web Browser?
- Graphics & Sound
- Helper Applications
What Is The Web?
The World Wide Web, or simply the Web, is the most rapidly expanding part of the Internet. It has transformed the task of finding, and presenting, information on the Internet from a difficult task to an exciting adventure. Technically speaking, the Web is an information retrieval system consisting of an international network of computers that are all interconnected. The web also features multimedia which means that it uses not only text, but also graphics, audio, and video.
Hypertext and Hyperlinks
Hypertext is what makes the Web so valuable. It is simply a way of placing connections (hyperlinks) into a document that direct your web browser to another resource on the Internet. A hyperlink can be in the form of a word, several words, or even an image. When you select a hyperlink in your web browser (often by clicking the link with your mouse or pressing the ENTER key on your keyboard), your browser automatically loads whatever the selected link indicates.
What's So Great About Hyperlinks?
Imagine that you're reading a document on the Web about the city of New York. In one section, the words, "Statue of Liberty" could be linked to a brief description of the monument, along with a picture. A link such as this one would differ from rest of the document either by being underlined, colored, or highlighted, depending on your web browser. More than one of these methods is often often used to distinguish hyperlinks.
What Is A Web Browser?
A web browser is a piece of software that views Web pages. In addition to simply downloading and displaying text, most Web browsers automatically display in-line images, as well.
Graphics & Sound
One of the most exciting features of the World Wide Web is the ability to include graphics and sound in web pages. Graphics can be in the forms of icons, colored lines, backgrounds, or even photographs. Some Web pages also contain sound clips, usually lasting a couple minutes, or even background music.
Whether you can experience the full multimedia effect of the Web depends primarily on your web browser, as well as your computer. In order to view graphics, you must have a graphical web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape. Your ability to download and listen to audio files on the Web depends not only on your browser, but also on whether your computer system is fitted with a sound card and speakers.
Every graphic on the Web is simply an image file that must be downloaded from the Internet site hosting it before it can be viewed. File size is important when it comes to graphics because the larger the file size, the longer the file takes to download. And the longer an image file takes to download, the more time you will sit at your computer waiting for it to appear. This is the reason why web sites that contain lots of images often seem to take forever to download completely.
Helper applications, often called "plugins", can add even more versatility to your web browser. These are additional programs that your Web browser can automatically use when it encounters something it cannot handle. Before you can use helper applications, you may need to download the appropriate programs and install them. Once installed on your computer, you need to "tell" your Web browser where it can find these new applications. This is done differently for each browser, but is usually found in the setup or configuration menu. Check your web browser for instructions on adding plugins.