A web site is a document or collection of documents formatted by code called HTML or HyperText Markup Language. HTML is a document language derived from early document languages developed for displaying or printing text prior to the advent of word processing editors. It has been expanded to include displaying of images (photos) and tables along with the capability of pointing to other documents. They reside on a server possibly located at the company owning the web site or on a virtual server located in a datacenter. Web sites are viewed by browser programs such as Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer running on your PC. Your browser sends a request to the server you dialed into, to get the document located on a web server and transmit it back to you utilizing what is called Hyper Text Transfer Protocol or HTTP.
Once the HTML document is received, your browser then reads the document analyzing it for links to images. As each image is referenced, your browser then sends a request to the server for each of the images. If the HTML document has specified the size of the images, the browser will display the document and then as each of the images are downloaded, the image will be displayed. This allows the browser to display the text immediately in its final format. If the size of the images are not displayed, the browser may display the text and as the images are downloaded, the browser will re-analyze the page and redisplay accordingly. The browser may wait until the images are downloaded prior to displaying the page.
HTML documents allow the creator of the web site to place references called Hyper Links to other web pages within their document. The Hyper Links may also point to pages in other HTML documents located at other web sites. These references allow the user to click on them with the mouse and bring the user to the referenced page. Since documents at one site may reference other documents at other sites and one can jump from one site to another like traveling around a spider's web, and considering there are sites all over the world, the phrase World Wide Web was coined.
A web site allows a person to place the documentation on the Internet and be recognized by standard browsers such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Netscape's Navigator. Ideally all web browsers should display the same web page in the same manor. Unfortunately browser designers interperate the HTML specs differently and have their own ideas of how better to do their job so a web site designer must have a multitude of browsers and check each of them to see how a web page is displayed. It becomes difficult to design a web page which is browser neutral. While Netscape allows different versions of their browser to co-exist on the same pc, Microsoft does not. This means that a designer must have a pc for each version of the Internet Explorer if they are to check to see how the web page is displayed with each version. We have to have 3 pcs for Internet Explorer - IE3, IE4, and IE5.
Since a web site is a document and it is available to everyone, you can begin to realize just what the possibilities are. Universities utilize the web for dissemination of research data, the IRS allows people to obtain forms for filing along with instructions. Web sites have become interactive allowing the user to enter data, which is sent back to the server. You can order books, music CDs, computers, cameras and other items without leaving your home and pay for it on a secure site with your credit card. Shopping on the Internet will be common place.
Another use for the web is to advertise your business letting other people know who you are and what you offer for services and/or products. By letting people know what makes your products/services unique or better than others, you can gain an edge over your competition. Some companies gain an edge by providing information to the public on the web site. This information may be in the form of instructions on how to use their product or tips on how to use the generic product that they and their competitors produce. A bank in the mortgage business would advertise their rates and plans they offer. In addition to the advertising, the bank may put information concerning how to apply for a mortgage or qualification information on their web site. Additional information on how to reduce debt inorder to qualify in the future might help their recognition. This information sets this bank apart from others by providing needed information thus drawing customers.
This web page along with our FAQ section is an example of general information for the businessperson provided by New Hampshire Business Web. The information is not targeted at our customers but is targeted at small businesses and organizations interested in getting on the web.
If you would like to learn more about web sites and their development, please visit our recommended books page