Software and the Web Interaction Model
- HTML: Language that supports the display of resources (text, graphics, multimedia) returned by a Web server to a browser
- Database: Provides organized storage, retrieval, and security of data resources
- Cascading style sheet: Specification that supports complex page layout, for example, enabling the placement of objects in specific locations
- ODBC: Provides a standardized mechanism for accessing databases
- CGI: Enables transactions between a Web server and other programs on the server
- Java: Language used for application development
- Browser: Interprets and displays HTML documents and other resources
- Plug-in: Application that runs inside browsers to provide display support for specialized multimedia applications (audio and video, usually)
- Middleware: Provides an interface between a user and a back-end database, or among two or more databases
Web Interaction defined
A Web interaction starts with a client program establishing a network connection to some server. At the low level this is done via sockets with the TCP/IP protocol.
The Emergence of Semantic HTML
Early versions of the HTML standard did not do much to separate the significance of content from the way it was presented. If you wanted to indicate that a span of text was important, you applied an HTML element that made the text bold. It was up to the user to make the association that bold content is important content. This is something that humans do very easily and that automated agents find very hard to do. The automated processing of content has become important in the years since HTML was first introduced, and there has been a gradual effort to separate the significance of HTML elements from
the way that content is presented in the browser.
The Trend: The HTML Standard Lags Behind HTML Use
The process for creating a standard is always a long one, especially for something as widely used as
HTML. There are a lot of stakeholders, and each wants to influence new versions of the standard to their
commercial benefit or particular point of view. Standards are not laws, and standards bodies fear
fragmentation above all else, which leads to a lot of time-consuming reconciliation around how potential features and enhancements may work. The standards body for HTML is the World Wide Web Consortium (known as W3C). They have a
difficult job, and it takes a long time for a proposal to become a standard. It takes a very long time for a revision to the core HTML specification to be approved. The consequence of the lengthy standards process is that the W3C has always been following the curve, trying to standardize what has already become accepted practice. The HTML specification has been a reflection of leading-edge thinking about web content from several years ago. This has reduced the importance of the HTML standard because the real innovation was happening away from the W3C,
partly in the browsers and partly in plugins.