What is "the Web"?

What is “the Web”?

So today, in this special article, I’m gonna give you a quick overview of what the web is and how it works. Lame! Yeah! Maybe there will be stuff you already know, but you could be surprised.

And if you’re not, show this article to someone who will be! Anyway, we have to start somewhere… so let’s go! Everything starts with your favorite browser where you type a web address.

Nope! I use Google.

Yes… and Google, like any other search engine that you could use, is nothing but a web site for which you have to type its web address. Ok don’t worry, this is just an overview. We will talk about search engines and searching the web in another article.

So as you type a web address…

The technical name for a web address is a URL (Uniform Resource Locator)… and it’s maybe better to save that for another video. Overview… remember, overview. So as you type a web address and hit the “Enter” key OR click a link from a search page your browser will send a request to the server that hosts the web site that lives at that address.

There, the server will process the address and it will send you back an HTML document. And, yes, we will get into the details of how server and request work… in another article.

Next, the browser retrieves the HTML document and it reads it. Usually, the HTML document contains further information telling the web browser that it needs some extra resources to render the full page.

For example: stylesheets (to know how to display the document) images or even scripts (to attach special effects).

Yes, you got it right… other videos to cover all of that. Your browser will request all those extra ressources and, once it gets all the resources, it will mix them all together to, at last, display the web page you were expecting.

Okay, let’s recap!

The web is a collection of documents that will be requested by a browser from a server. Each document is accessible through a web address. The browser will mix all the necessary documents to turn any HTML document into a nice web page.

Yes, the web is nothing else than that.

Of course that simplicity hides many subtle things. Things that we will explore… In another article!

Well… maybe more than one.

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