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HTTP and Web Technology

[(ETH - Zurich) - Gian Marco Castelberg]


    - Overview

    The internet has become an integral part of everyday life. Shopping, banking, communication, and entertainment all depend on the internet, and with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more devices are being put online, where they can be accessed remotely. This access is made possible by several technologies, including Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is a key method of requesting access to remote web applications and resources. Although most people understand how to use a web browser to surf the internet, few truly understand how this technology works, why HTTP is a core part of the web, or why the next version (HTTP/2) is causing such excitement in the web community.


    - The Internet vs. the World Wide Web (W3)

    For many people, the internet and the World Wide Web are synonymous, but it’s important to differentiate between the two terms. 

    The internet is a collection of public computers linked through the shared use of the Internet Protocol (IP) to route messages. It’s made up of many services, including the World Wide Web, email, file sharing, and internet telephony. The World Wide Web (or the web), therefore, is but one part of the internet, though it’s the most visible part, and as people often look at email through web-mail front ends (such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo!), some of them use the web interchangeably with the internet. 

    HTTP is how web browsers request web pages. It was one of the three main technologies defined by Tim Berners-Lee when he invented the web, along with unique identifiers for resources (which is where Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs, came from) and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Other parts of the internet have their own protocols and standards to define how they work and how their underlying messages are routed through the internet (such as email with SMTP, IMAP, and POP). 

    When examining HTTP, you’re dealing primarily with the World Wide Web. This line is getting more blurred, however, as services built on top of HTTP, even without a traditional web front end, mean that defining the web itself is trickier and trickier! These services (known by acronyms such as REST or SOAP) can be used by web pages and non-web pages (such as mobile apps) alike. 

    Although the internet is made up of myriad services, a lot of them are being used proportionally less and less while use of the web continues to grow. Those of us who recall the internet in the earliest days recall acronyms such as BBS and IRC that are practically gone today, replaced by web forums, social media websites, and chat applications. 


    [CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research]

    - HTTP and Web

    HTTP is a protocol for fetching resources such as HTML documents. It is the foundation of any data exchange on the Web and it is a client-server protocol, which means requests are initiated by the recipient, usually the Web browser. A complete document is reconstructed from the different sub-documents fetched, for instance, text, layout description, images, videos, scripts, and more. 

    Clients and servers communicate by exchanging individual messages (as opposed to a stream of data). The messages sent by the client, usually a Web browser, are called requests and the messages sent by the server as an answer are called responses.

    Designed in the early 1990s, HTTP is an extensible protocol which has evolved over time. It is an application layer protocol that is sent over TCP, or over a TLS-encrypted TCP connection, though any reliable transport protocol could theoretically be used. Due to its extensibility, it is used to not only fetch hypertext documents, but also images and videos or to post content to servers, like with HTML form results. HTTP can also be used to fetch parts of documents to update Web pages on demand.


    - Internet of Things (Iot) on Web Development

    IoT is a technology that connects the digital world by changing UI interactions between humans and machines. Now IoT has entered the realm of web development, making users more interactive with websites. And create a smart and important role in the development world.

    IoT is an evolution of home, mobile and embedded applications connected to the internet that can also integrate higher computing power and use data analytics to extract meaningful information.

    IoT edge in web development will change front-end interface and user interaction etc. All users will use this front-end interface to communicate with cameras, sensors, and other devices on the Internet.

    IoT connects devices and humans with innovative learning. Now IoT will be established in the web development industry to make web architecture and user interface more creative and interactive. IoT will create advanced communication between website layouts and operating models. 

    IoT has a wide range of intensities such as sensors, cameras, signaling devices, etc. It will ensure efficient resolution of customer requests and establish the right direction. 

    Currently, many IoT devices may be able to display website information and results. It includes smart appliances such as laptops, AC and microwave ovens, and industrial monitors such as embedded systems. It plays a vital role in web development and it goes beyond all these techniques.



    [More to come ...]



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