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Lesson 8Other technologies
ObjectiveDescribe other Technologies that enable Users to access Information on the Web


Everyone reading this course has certainly used a browser. But, do you know that the browser made the Internet, as we know it, possible? The Internet has been with us, essentially, since the mid-1970s. Prior to the browser, the Internet could not display color, pictures, motion, sounds, nor did it permit hyperlinks. The browser, using HTML and its associated add-ins (like Java, Acrobat, and RealPlayer), brings multimedia to the Internet and makes it user friendly. Are there browsers other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) and Netscape? Sure, there are several. But IE and Netscape Navigator dominate the industry due to their capabilities, user friendliness, and superior marketing.

Universal clients

Universal clients are applications or application suites that can perform a variety of client services. For example, a browser such as Netscape Navigator can be used to perform limited FTP and Telnet functions; send and receive email; and browse the World Wide Web.
In today's heavily networked society, there is an increasing demand for fast and reliable access to information. It is believed that for many application domains, the information superhighway contains much of the needed information and is capable of delivering it at extremely high speeds. However, the information may not be available at the users’ fingertips. In other words, we no longer need to question the availability of information; however, the information is not readily accessible. What needed are means to:
  1. Locate the relevant information intelligently, efficiently, and transparently;
  2. Extract, process, and integrate relevant information efficiently and securely; and
  3. Interpret the processed information intelligently and efficiently. Within this infrastructure, two types of services are available to the user: on-demand base services and broadcast-based services. Private and shared data are usually subject of on-demand-based services, while public data can be most effectively disseminated using broadcasting.

Push and Pull technologies

A push technology allows data to be delivered to your computer screen with or without you having requested it. For example, using push software such as Entry Point or a Web search engine such as Yahoo or AltaVista, you can create a newsmagazine or Internet home page customized with only your interests and updated automatically.
A push client is software that resides in your machine and receives transmissions from Web cast servers on the Internet, or perhaps from your company's intranet. A push client could also be a Web browser with built-in push technology, such as Netscape's Netcaster.
A pull technology relies solely on a user's request for information. It does not automatically send information to your computer. Rather, it requires that you make requests for various types of data such as reports, videos, or general Web searches. It then delivers results for you. For example, a Web browser and a Web site, are common types of pull technology.
In the next lesson, you will learn how to use search engines.