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Chapter: Web Technology : Web Essentials

Web Essentials

The software that distributes the information and the machine where the information and software reside is called the server.

Web Essentials:




The software that distributes the information and the machine where the information and software reside is called the server.


provides requested service to client

e.g., Web server sends requested Web page




The software that resides on the remote machine, communicates with the server, fetches the information, processes it, and then displays it on the remote machine is called the client.


initiates contact with server (“speaks first”)

typically requests service from server

Web: client implemented in browser


Web server:


Software that delivers Web pages and other documents to browsers using the HTTP protocol


Web Page:


A web page is a document or resource of information that is suitable for the World Wide Web and can be accessed through a web browser.




A collection of pages on the World Wide Web that are accessible from the same URL and typically residing on the same server.




Uniform Resource Locator, the unique address which identifies a resource on the Internet for routing purposes.


Client-server paradigm:


The Client-Server paradigm is the most prevalent model for distributed computing protocols. It is the basis of all distributed computing paradigms at a higher level of abstraction. It is service-oriented, and employs a request-response protocol.


A server process, running on a server host, provides access to a service. A client process, running on a client host, accesses the service via the server process.The interaction of the process proceeds according to a protocol.


The primary idea of a client/server system is that you have a central repository of information—some kind of data, often in a database—that you want to distribute on demand to some set of people or machines.

The Internet:

Medium for communication and interaction in inter connected network.

Makes information constantly and instantly available to anyone with a connection.


Web Browsers:


• User agent for Web is called a browser: o Internet Explorer


o Firefox


Web Server:


• Server for Web is called Web server: o Apache (public domain)

o MS Internet Information Server




Protocols are agreed formats for transmitting data between devices. The protocol determines:


i. The error checking required

ii. Data compression method used

iii. The way the end of a message is signaled

iv. The way the device indicates that it has received the message



Internet Protocol:


There are many protocols used by the Internet and the WWW:





o Electronic mail protocols IMAP





The Internet uses two main protocols (developed by Vincent Cerf and Robert Kahn) Transmission control protocol (TCP):Controls disassembly of message into packets at the origin reassembles at the destination


Internet protocol (IP):Specifies the addressing details for each packet Each packet is labelled with its origin and destination.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)


• The hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) was developed by Tim Berners-Lee in  1991

HTTP was designed to transfer pages between machines

   The client (or Web browser) makes a request for a given page and the Server is responsible for finding it and returning it to the client 

The browser connects and requests a page from the server

The server reads the page from the file system, sends it to the client and terminates the connection.

Electronic Mail Protocols:


Electronic mail uses the client/server model


  The organisation has an email server devoted to handling email o Stores and forwards email messages


Individuals use email client software to read and send email

o (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, or Netscape Messenger)

• Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

o Specifies format of mail messages

• Post Office Protocol (POP) tells the email server to:

o Send mail to the user’s computer and delete it from the server


o Send mail to the user’s computer and do not delete it from the server o Ask whether new mail has arrived.


Interactive Mail Access Protocol (IMAP)


Newer than POP, provides similar functions with additional features.


o e.g. can send specific messages to the client rather than all the messages. A user can view email message headers and the sender’s name before


downloading the entire message.

Allows users to delete and search mailboxes held on the email server.


The disadvantage of POP: You can only access messages from one PC.


The disadvantage of IMAP :Since email is stored on the email server, there is a need for more and more expensive (high speed) storage space.



World Wide Web: comprises software (Web server and browser) and data (Web sites).


Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses:

-  Every node has a unique numeric address

-  Form: 32-bit binary number

-  New standard, IPv6, has 128 bits (1998)

-  Organizations are assigned groups of IPs for their computers

-  Domain names

-  Form: host-name. domain-names

-  First domain is the smallest (Google)

-  Last domain specifies the type of organization (.com)

-  Fully qualified domain name - the host name and all of the domain names

-  DNS servers - convert fully qualified domain names to IPs



Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the communication protocol used by the Internet to transfer hypertext documents.


A protocol to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers


Hypertext is text, displayed on a computer, with references (hyperlinks) to


other text that the reader can immediately follow, usually by a mouse HTTP is behind every request for a web document or graph, every click of a hypertext link, and every submission of a form.


HTTP specifies how clients request data, and how servers respond to these requests.


The client makes a request for a given page and the server is responsible for finding it and returning it to the client.


The browser connects and requests a page from the server.

The server reads the page from the file system and sends it to the client and then terminates the connection


HTTP Transactions


HTTP Message:


HTTP message is the information transaction between the client and server.


Two types of HTTP Message:


1. Requests

a. Client to server

2. Responses

a. Server to client



· Request line or Response line

· General header

· Request header or Response header

· Entity header

· Entity body


Request Message:


Request Line:


  A request line has three parts, separated by spaces o a method name


o the local path of the requested resource o the version of HTTP being used


A typical request line is:

o GET /path/to/file/index.html HTTP/1.1

• Notes:


o GET is the most common HTTP method; it says "give me this resource". Other methods include POST and HEAD. Method names are always uppercase


o The path is the part of the URL after the host name, also called the request URI o The HTTP version always takes the form "HTTP/x.x", uppercase.


Request Header:



Response Message:

Response Line:


  A request line has three parts, separated by spaces o the HTTP version,


o a response status code that gives the result of the request, and o an English reason phrase describing the status code


Typical status lines are:

o HTTP/1.0 200 OK or

o HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found

• Notes:

o The HTTP version is in the same format as in the request line, "HTTP/x.x".


o The status code is meant to be computer-readable; the reason phrase is meant to be human-readable, and may vary.


HTTP Request Header:




HTTP Method:


  HTTP method is supplied in the request line and specifies the operation that the client has requested.


Some common methods:









Two methods that are mostly used are the GET and POST: o GET for queries that can be safely repeated


o POST for operations that may have side effects (e.g. ordering a book from an on-line store).


The GET Method


   It is used to retrieve information from a specified URI and is assumed to be a safe, repeatable operation by browsers, caches and other HTTP aware components


Operations have no side effects and GET requests can be re-issued.


  For example, displaying the balance of a bank account has no effect on the account and can be safely repeated.


  Most browsers will allow a user to refresh a page that resulted from a GET, without displaying any kind of warning


  Proxies may automatically retry GET requests if they encounter a temporary network connection problem.


  GET requests is that they can only supply data in the form of parameters encoded in the URI (known as a Query String) – [downside]


Cannot be unused for uploading files or other operations that require large amounts of data to be sent to the server.


The POST Method


Used for operations that have side effects and cannot be safely repeated.


  For example, transferring money from one bank account to another has side effects and should not be repeated without explicit approval by the user.


If you try to refresh a page in Internet Explorer that resulted from a POST, it displays the following message to warn you that there may be side effects:

The POST request message has a content body that is normally used to send parameters and data


• The IIS server returns two status codes in its response for a POST request

o The first is 100 Continue to indicate that it has successfully received the POST


o The second is 200 OK after the request has been processed.


HTTP response status codes


Informational (1xx)

Successful (2xx)

Redirection (3xx)

o 301: moved permanently

• Client error (4xx)


o 403 : forbidden o 404: Not found

• Server error (5xx)

o 503: Service unavailable

o 505: HTTP version not supported


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