The world wide web has become so integrated into our daily lives in such a short period of time. A little over 10 years ago many people were just starting to learn about email and basic internet surfing. In under a decade we have seen the invention of such massive culture transforming phenomena as youtube,facebook and twitter. Things like online banking and stock trading were unheard of. We use the internet in so many diverse and powerful ways, yet it is astonishing how little people actually understand about this powerful medium. A few years ago I took an interest in web design and I am still clawing my way up this steep learning curve. So I thought it might be enlightening to others to teach web theory and basics so that they can arm themselves with the information needed to delve into the world wide web for themselves.
So how does the internet work?
Before a web page ever meets its first surfer it begins as a few files on a computer. Depending on the person creating the web page there are many tools that one can use to accomplish this. Web pages are coded into a computer language called html or "hyper text markup language". If you are fluent in this coding language you can create a website with no special equipment or software, you can use a plain old text editor like notepad which comes installed on your computer. You can write a web page in notepad, save it in .html file format and then the web page can be opened in a web browser. If you want to design a website but don't want to take on the challenge of learning html you can use what they call a WYSIWYG(What you see is what you get) editor like Microsoft Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver.
Whatever design platform you choose there comes time to publish your web page. This is a process of taking the web pages that you have designed on your computer and putting them on something called a server. You can think of a server as a large computer that stores your web page files and stays on all of the time so that your web page can be accessed 24 hrs a day. You use an FTP(file transfer protocol) Client such as Filezilla which sends the web page files from your computer to the server where the files will be hosted. Your web page is given an IP address with a number that is coded into a name when you purchase a domain name such as www.halfpoodle.com. For example your web pages IP address may be 255.255.255.0 or such a number but it is coded so that when someone types www.halfpoodle.com it is translated into 255.255.255.0. Your browser requests to view the pages at this IP address, the server receives the requests and then sends the pages back to be viewed by your browser. This is the basic protocol for how the internet works. In the next article I will fully cover all internet lingo so that you will know where to start.