Website

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A website (also spelled web site) is a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed with a common domain name or IP address in an Internet Protocol-based network. A web site is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via the Internet or a private local area network.

A web page is a document, typically written in plain text interspersed with formatting instructions of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML, XHTML). A web page may incorporate elements from other websites with suitable markup anchors.

Web pages are accessed and transported with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which may optionally employ encryption (HTTP Secure, HTTPS) to provide security and privacy for the user of the web page content. The user's application, often a web browser, renders the page content according to its HTML markup instructions onto a display terminal.

All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web.

The pages of a website can usually be accessed from a simple Uniform Resource Locator (URL) called the homepage. The URLs of the pages organize them into a hierarchy, although hyperlinking between them conveys the reader's perceived site structure and guides the reader's navigation of the site.

Some websites require a subscription to access some or all of their content. Examples of subscription sites include many business sites, parts of many news sites, academic journal sites, gaming sites, message boards, web-based e-mail, services, social networking websites, and sites providing real-time stock market data.


Contents

History

The World Wide Web was created in 1990 by CERN engineer Tim Berners-Lee. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone.

Before the introduction of HTML and HTTP other protocols such as file transfer protocol and the gopher protocol were used to retrieve individual files from a server. These protocols offer a simple directory structure which the user navigates and chooses files to download. Documents were most often presented as plain text files without formatting or were encoded in word processor formats.

Overview

Organized by function, a website may be:

    Personal website
    Commercial website
    Government website
    Non-profit organization website

It could be the work of an individual, a business or other organization, and is typically dedicated to some particular topic or purpose. Any website can contain a hyperlink to any other website, so the distinction between individual sites, as perceived by the user, may sometimes be blurred.

Websites are written in, or dynamically converted to, HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and are accessed using a software interface classified as a user agent. Web pages can be viewed or otherwise accessed from a range of computer-based and Internet-enabled devices of various sizes, including desktop computers, laptops, PDAs and cell phones.

A website is hosted on a computer system known as a web server, also called an HTTP server, and these terms can also refer to the software that runs on these systems and that retrieves and delivers the web pages in response to requests from the website users. Apache is the most commonly used web server software (according to Netcraft statistics) and Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) is also commonly used.

Website styles

Static website

A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Simple forms or marketing examples of websites, such as classic website, a five-page website or a brochure website are often static websites, because they present pre-defined, static information to the user. This may include information about a company and its products and services via text, photos, animations, audio/video and interactive menus and navigation.

This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors. Similar to handing out a printed brochure to customers or clients, a static website will generally provide consistent, standard information for an extended period of time. Although the website owner may make updates periodically, it is a manual process to edit the text, photos and other content and may require basic website design skills and software.

In summary, visitors are not able to control what information they receive via a static website, and must instead settle for whatever content the website owner has decided to offer at that time.

They are edited using four broad categories of software:

   * Text editors, such as Notepad or TextEdit, where content and HTML markup are manipulated directly within the editor program
   * WYSIWYG offline editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver (previously Macromedia Dreamweaver), with which the site is edited using a GUI interface and the final HTML markup is generated automatically by the editor software
   * WYSIWYG online editors which create media rich online presentation like web pages, widgets, intro, blogs, and other documents.
   * Template-based editors, such as Rapidweaver and iWeb, which allow users to quickly create and upload web pages to a web server without detailed HTML knowledge, as they pick a suitable template from a palette and add pictures and text to it in a desktop publishing fashion without direct manipulation of HTML code.

Dynamic website

A dynamic website is one that changes or customizes content automatically and/or frequently based on certain criteria. The page composition is usually data-driven and collates information ad hoc each time a page is requested.

A website can be dynamic in one of two ways. The first is that the web page code is constructed dynamically. The second is that the web page content displayed varies based on certain criteria. The criteria may be pre-defined rules or may be based on variable user input.

The main purpose of a dynamic website is that it is much simpler to maintain a few template pages and a database than it is to build and update hundreds or thousands of individual web pages and links.

A dynamic website also describes its construction or how it is built, and more specifically refers to the code used to create a single web page. A dynamic web page is generated on the fly by piecing together certain blocks of code, procedures or routines. A dynamically-generated web page would call various bits of information from a database and put them together in a pre-defined format to present the reader with a coherent page. It interacts with users in a variety of ways including by reading cookies recognizing users' previous history, session variables, server side variables etc., or by using direct interaction (form elements, mouseovers, etc.). A site can display the current state of a dialogue between users, monitor a changing situation, or provide information in some way personalized to the requirements of the individual user.

Some countries, for example the U.K. and the U.S., have introduced legislation regarding web accessibility.

Software systems

There are a wide range of software systems, such as Java Server Pages (JSP), the PHP and Perl programming languages, Active Server Pages (ASP), YUMA and Cold Fusion (CFM) that are available to generate dynamic web systems and dynamic sites. Sites may also include content that is retrieved from one or more databases or by using XML-based technologies such as RSS.

Static content may also be dynamically generated either periodically, or if certain conditions for regeneration occur (cached) in order to avoid the performance loss of initiating the dynamic engine on a per-user or per-connection basis.

Plug ins are available to expand the features and abilities of web browsers, which use them to show active content, such as Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave or applets written in Java. Dynamic HTML also provides for user interactivity and realtime element updating within web pages (i.e., pages don't have to be loaded or reloaded to effect any changes), mainly using the Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript, support which is built-in to most modern web browsers.

Turning a website into an income source is a common practice for web developers and website owners. There are several methods for creating a website business which fall into two broad categories, as defined below.

Content-based sites

Some websites derive revenue by selling advertising space on the site (see Contextual advertising).

Product- or service-based sites Some websites derive revenue by offering products or services for sale. In the case of e-commerce websites, the products or services may be purchased at the website itself, by entering credit card or other payment information into a payment form on the site. While most business websites serve as a shop window for existing brick and mortar businesses, it is increasingly the case that some websites are businesses in their own right; that is, the products they offer are only available for purchase on the web.

Websites occasionally derive income from a combination of these two practices. For example, a website such as an online auctions website may charge the users of its auction service to list an auction, but also display third-party advertisements on the site, from which it derives further income.

Spelling

The forms website and web site are the most commonly used forms, the former especially in British English. The Associated Press Style book, Reuters, Microsoft, academia, book publishing, The Chicago Manual of Style, and dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster use the two-word, initially capitalized spelling Web site. This is because "Web" is not a general term but a short form of World Wide Web. As with many newly created terms, it may take some time before a common spelling is finalized. This controversy also applies to derivative terms such as web page, web master, and web cam.

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary and the Canadian Press Style book list "website" and "web page" as the preferred spellings. The Oxford English Dictionary began using "website" as its standardized form in 2004.

Bill Walsh, the copy chief of The Washington Post's national desk, and one of American English's foremost grammarians, argues for the two-word spelling with capital W in his books Lapsing into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, and on his site, the Slot.

Awards

The Webby Awards are a set of awards presented to the world's best websites, a concept pioneered by Best of the Web in 1994.

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