What is a web page? Why is understanding the web page so important?
Web pages are fascinating. just look at the millions and billions of people searching on Google search engines nowadays! I got started in web design and development in 2013 after reading a book on web design.
It was fascinating to me, difficult to comprehend how the information got sorted, learning how it all worked together to bring out the web page through the smartphone I was viewing from.
I began this web development, web design, and digital marketing pathways since then and never look back.
I will go in-depth into understanding what is web page by starting with the big picture and then slowly drive down to the specifics you need to know.
The web was born in 1989, in a particle physics laboratory (CERN) in Geneva a year after I was born.
The web and the Internet are often used interchangeably however they are different. The web is a subset of the Internet, it is just one of the many ways information can be transferred around over the networked computers.
No company in the world owns the Internet. It is an international network of computers connected, one cooperative system governed by rules and regulations. The sole purpose of connecting all the computers together is for sharing information.
Many sharing processes include emails, file transfers, secure shell (SSH Client and SSH Server connections), and more specialized modes where the Internet was purposed to form.
Protocols are the name for the standardized methods of transferring data or documents over the network.
The web also the most popular way of sharing information is just one of the ways information is now shared over the Internet. The web was known as World Wide Web initially. “www” we see at the start of the site addresses came from these words “World Wide Web.”
It is unique and allows you to form a huge web of connected information. The web is empowered by a protocol known as the “HTTP” or hypertext transfer protocol, it can be found on every website addresses we see on the Internet nowadays.
Whenever we hear about the web, we often get associated with these tech giants and jargons:
Many people associate servers to computers that help to serve up the information or documents upon request.
More accurately, however, the servers are no computers. They are software that allow computers to communicate with each other.
The role of the server used is to wait for information requests, retrieve and then send out the information as efficient as possible.
Web servers are also known as the HTTP servers, there is nothing special with the computers ranging from normal ones to highly effective supercomputers to stay connected and link all the computers to the web, a server software needs to be inside the computer to make it happen.
Two of the popular servers include the Apache (open source software) and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).
Apache is installed in Unix based computers such as macs running on macOS, while Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) comes in Microsoft family of server solutions, usually found in Windows PC.
Every single computer, smartphones, devices that are connected to the Internet have a unique IP address also known as “Internet Protocols.”
As I am writing this on my laptop, the IP address that is hosting https://webleads.sg is 184.108.40.206. All these numbers will be hard to comprehend for human, however, this numerical IP address is written useful as a readable language for computers.
DNS stands for domain name system, it was purposed and developed allowing humans to refer to the server by its domain name for example “webleads.sg.” It makes it easy for humans to remember it.
To help you relate, you can think of IP address as a telephone number while the DNS server act as a phonebook.
In web design, you will often hear the client-side and the server-side applications, they are used to indicate which machine is used for processing.
There are two sides when it comes to the web experience, the serving side from the servers and the clients’ side when people request information through the desktop browsers such as Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and the Internet Explorer.
People use desktop browsers, mobile browsers, and screen readers alike to documents on the web, the server then returns the documents as needed to display for the browser.
Browsers are the frontend while servers are the backend in conclusion.
These days however the touchscreen within reach such as smartphones increases the browsing experience of browsers. Mobile browsers on smartphones and tablets now cover more than half of the web traffic.
Mobile browsers include Safari on the IOS, Chrome on Android devices, Opera and Mozilla Firefox, etc installable via downloads of apps.
Rendering engine is a program responsible to convert HTML, CSS into what you see on mobile browsers and desktop browsers.
Mobile browsers and desktop browsers are made up of many rendering engines, and other codes used for their individual interfaces and functionality.
Read more: More about rendering engines
URL stands for uniform resource locator. It is difficult nowadays to chance pass any business brochures, name cards, etc without a URL. Web addresses and websites are now essential for any business that is happening in the world.
Best practices are to make sure the website URL is short. This helps to boost SEO and people get to remember your URL, search for it easily as and when they need your products and services.
A URL is made up of three parts such as the protocol, site name and the absolute path to the resources of documents they are looking for.
Read more: More about secure web protocol (“https://”)
We all know how a web page looks like in the browser. But it is actually makeup of more stuff in the backend, it should always consist of one CSS file and one HTML file. All images alike in .png, .jpg, and etc formats. All contents inclusive of texts, video embedded, etc.
Basically the HTML is the main component running the whole show.
The interactive, graphics-rich web pages are actually a block of text working on the back to make it displayed as it is.
HTML 5 is the latest unique version that is in use now since its birth from HTML in 1989.
Web pages use this HTML or mark up language to define dozens of text documents such as headings, paragraphs, videos, images, text, links and more.
Most of the HTML tags come in pairs such as:
<h1> meant the start of the text indicating that the text is first-level heading while </h1> indicates to computer that it is the end of the heading.
Some elements are also known as the empty elements like <hr> tag. It does not come in pairs, however this empty element help to inform browsers to “insert one horizontal row” below a theme divider.
Obviously you do not get to see the pictures but a bunch of text behind the backend of the HTML document. So how did the pictures or videos get onto our web pages?
The image is placed in the flow of the HTML document with this element tag <img> to indicate to the browser where to find the image ( its URL) and make another request to the server for the image file and place it in the content flow.
The rendering engines or the browser software then places all this together which usually happens instantly and may look to us like the web page loads all at once.
Cascading Stylesheets is what makes our website stands out in the appearance of every single web page.
It is usually found at the top of the HTML document with a link element that points to the stylesheet of the document. (.css)
Cascading stylesheets allow designers to give visual instructions also known as documents’ presentation to the marked-up text (document structure such as HTML in web terminology.)
CSS is powerful and it does wonders for the presentation and display of your website. Few style rules from CSS allows you to make big changes to the overall website appearance.
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