Web Server Tech: Background Information


World Wide Web (The Client and Server Pair)

The World Wide Web, often called "WWW" or simply "the Web" is the hottest thing since the invention of TV. It brings millions of people all over the world for communication on the Internet. Users simply use the web browser and "point-and-click" in order to display a wide variety of multimedia information. The web browser can be viewed as a client which hide most of the complexity of the Internet and help users to access the oceans of information on the Internet. On the other side of the story, we have the Web Server which serves information to thousands of web clients.

Standing at the Web server, you do not see the oceans of information but millions of info requests from clients all over the world from different platforms. This tutorial focuses on Web servers instead of Web browsers. We will examine in details how the web server functions with investigation on server architecture, CGI-script, Java applet, interaction with file systems, database as well as performance and security issues.


Data served on the Web

The Web is decentralized. It uses the Internet to connect the client (the customer) and the server (the provider). The Internet is composed of a wide variety of computers and networks that interoperate so data can be exchanged among them. The Web, which can be viewed as a high level protocol, was built on top of the Internet.

The Web is made possible by the following key technologies:

callStack.jpg (15006 bytes)

Please note that a Web server has very little role in how the information it delivers is displayed or used. (Except with the use of XML + application). Normally, the web server delivers information and the browser has to use it properly.

The web server can also execute programs dynamically to generate information. As we called it server-side processing to produce interactive web pages. (Compared that with JavaScript which create client-side processing interactive web pages). The web server makes it possible to create web applications that use electronic fill-in forms. It also permits the web server to act as a gateway to access resources that are not web server such as local file systems, database, mainframe data, etc. The ability to run scripts and gateways makes the web extremely flexible with a strong array of services. We will look at how basic text-based pages served as well as how script are run.


Existing Web Servers Software


Copyright 1996-2001 OpenLoop Computing. All rights reserved.