What is a web page?


This web page attempts to describe what a web page is. The implications of a web page, and the web in general, are also considered. This brief document is intended for the non-technical reader. Technical issues relating to web pages can be found in the HTML specifications. It is assumed the reader has a basic vocabulary in web terminology and knows what a browser is.

What a web page is

A web page is the representation of a document which resides at a remote site. This is key to understanding what the web itself is and the implications. If a "web" document resides on the machine you are working from, the document is called an HTML document.

A web page has the wonderful feature of allowing embeded references to other pages.

Please, let me explain by example. The page you are reading right now resides in Alexandria Virginia, the USA. The author (thats me) edits the page from a dingy apartment 5 minutes north of the nations capitol. In fact, I work in DC at NASA HQ. Stop by if you are ever on capitol hill.

When you "visit" this web page you are instructing your browser to go get a copy of of this page from Virginia. The computer then uses the telephone wires to request a copy from the machine in Virginia. The machine in Virginia sends back the copy and viola, there it is on your screen. If the page were to be modified this evening and you came back tomorrow you would see the new web page (ignore caches for now).

So what?

So... in essence you are "looking over my shoulder". When I make a change here in DC you can see it as soon as you load the page. Because of this, web pages are often called "live documents". Wouldn't it be neat if documents (books, magazines etc..) with time sensitive material could update at any time? It *is* neat and its called a web page.


You should be excited right about now if this is the first time you are realizing this. Each web page puts you in contact with the author. So if you visit the Database of China Law and Taiwan Law (Li & Partners) page you are getting a page from a machine in Taiwan. That is what the "tw" means in the URL of the page (http://www.law.com.tw). The Law web page is maintained by folks who *live* in Taiwan. No middle man to interpret for you. No news anchor to tell you what Taiwan Law is.. hear it is from Taiwan itself.

And because of the availability of "cyberspace" virtually anyone can put up a page saying anything. A soap box to the world if you will. I certainly enjoy it. Send me mail .. let me know you stopped by.. I love to keep all the nice letters folks send me from all over the world. I may even add yours to this web page! Makes the world seem cozy and warm doesn't it?


Opinionated Conclusions

The web, and specifically, web pages provide a new medium where anyone, anywhere, can publish. The web allows particpants to interact with one another and contribute via e-mail, chat rooms and store fronts. I humbly believe this medium will change social interaction of folks everywhere. Imagine a medium where you could send the author a message if you like the document. Or didn't. Please do, I would like to continue this conversation. Perhaps *you* could help refine this document. Send the author email
This page is maintained by Patrick Amato

URL http://www.erols.com/amato1/Web/
Established June 1997
Last modified Jun 25 14:28:58 EST 1997

Copyright (C) Patrick Amato 1997. All rights reserved.