If the standard Information System is comprised of hardware, software, data, people and procedures, then the WORLD WIDE WEB (WWW), which runs atop a system of interconnected networks known as the Internet, certainly falls within this category. Without any of the five (5) aforementioned components, the Web as we know it would cease to exist.
- Hardware is needed for users to “visualize” the software.
- Software is needed to bring any hardware or device to life.
- Without real, useful data, software is virtually useless.
- Usability has everything to do with people and human interaction.
- And procedures are put in place to help us accomplish our daily tasks.
The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. But it would take nearly ten (10) years for it to gain traction within the common household. If we go back just two or three decades, we find that whatever we had a question about, or whatever information we needed, required the assistance of an encyclopedia, telephone book or other physical reference.
The Web has undoubtedly made things much simpler, such that even a human isn’t required to get the information you need. With Internet access and an updated web browser, valuable information can be updated by subject matter experts (SMEs) and retrieved online by those who seek answers. Data, as a result, is not only faster, but more accurate and not as expensive as information provided by paid consultants or printed media.
Distinguishing between the Internet and World Wide Web
Oftentimes the keyphrase World Wide Web is used interchangeably with the Internet, causing many people to have a flawed understanding of the two. But its important to understand both in their proper contexts.
The Internet is a global network of interconnected computers. These nodes, as they are often called, are connected using physical media like telephone lines, Ethernet cables and fiber optics. Sometimes the connections among these nodes can even be wireless! The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is a collection of documents and other resources (like video, audio, graphics and application software) that are assembled and implemented across the Internet.
Google, Facebook and other websites you visit help make up the World Wide Web, along with any websites you own or blogs you may contribute to. Even web-based email and client software that allows you to chat with your friends is considered to be a part. In essence, the Web is nothing more than a gamut of various pieces of information that can be accessed online or via a “cloud.”
The Importance of Websites in the World Wide Web (WWW)
Websites large and small play an important role in the makeup of the World Wide Web. Essentially, a website is comprised of interlinked documents (or pages) stored within a directory on a computer made accessible to the public. The bulk of user generated data is facilitated through some sort of website. In fact, the very purpose of a website is to display static or dynamic information—the later retrieved from a database or application programming interface (API).
The “www” that prefixes most Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs, is actually a subdomain (or directory) within the list of files that make up a given website. But ever since the advent of mobile Internet connections via smart phones and tablets, it is not uncommon to see an “m” prefixed to some domain names. This denotes that a website has been optimized for a mobile viewing experience.
The Pros and Cons of Information on the Web
The World Wide Web is one of the most vital components running on the Internet. Without it, there would be no such thing as connectivity, and linking the world at large would be nearly impossible. Society, in general, has grown richer and wiser through Web connectivity; users have effectively traveled to the ends of Earth and back, and are familiar with other cultures in a more personable way.
Even trade and commerce has been impacted by the Web’s influence. In times past, distance might have prevented certain business transactions from occurring, given there was no Internet to connect supply with demand. But these days it is almost unheard of for any organization to not have a website or social media presence. The same is true for the Education industry. Through the Web, people can study at the school they please, oftentimes from the comfort of their own home.
But for every pro there is always a con. Web information and media is often considered to be “living,” due to the fact that it can be modified, copied, deleted or defaced at a moment’s notice. This phenomenon gave birth to the ideas of hijacking and vandalism as we know it today. Web information, unlike traditional media, is susceptible to malicious software and requires dedicated security.
Today, people can accomplish virtually anything on the Web, be it uploading a photo or sharing useful information. The World Wide Web has changed the lives of many people across the globe and is arguably the greatest invention of all time. The only precaution when using it is the issue of privacy—a basic human right—which can be preserved through etiquette and proper usage. Both enable everyone to enjoy the positive impact of the Web we’ve come to cherish.