Web Science/Part1: Foundations of the web/Internet vs World Wide Web/Design principles of the web

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Design principles of the web

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  • decentralized
  • distributed (what is the diff to "decentralzed")
  • on top of the internet
  • Test of independent invention
  • Simplicity
  • modular (same as ToII?)
  • tolerance (against what? failure of subsystems?)
  • asymmetric (404)
  • client server model (request / response) - note: not the then dominating C/S version, which meant that each client was a client for one server


1 Assume the World Wide Web was a hypertext system that made use of a central link data base to link the documents. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

advantage disadvantage
All links would be working all the time.
The link database would have to scale.
Control of the entire system would be at one spot.
we would know and be able to query the backlinks of a document

2 Why is the test of independent invention (TOII) so crucial for the success of the World Wide Web?

In this way the used technology aims to become unique.
In this way the used technology aims to become universal.
If two similar systems arise it enables smooth integration with only incremental effort.
It enables interoperability.
With the TOII in mind everyone can implement the standards and contribute to the web by running its own web server and link its information

3 Why was the Error 404 in combination with broken links so important for the success of the web?

It saved programming time not to verify links which could be used to develop better web browsers
It was the reason for the web to scale
Accepting inconsistency simplifies many problems in distributed systems
Without it the web could not have build on top of TCP/IP since it is a result of using TCP/IP.

4 Why were URLs needed to create the World Wide Web? What design goals have been reached?

The domain name system was only able to address computers on the internet. When you want to link information like documents a way of globally addressing files is necessary
To permanently and uniquely give addresses to files
To be able to identify every file on every computer all the time.
To publish a document at the same address independent of the computer and directory it is stored on.

Further reading

  1. w:World_Wide_Web
  2. w:ENQUIRE
  3. URI (referable)
  4. HTTP (request response protocol)
  5. HTML (linked documents)
  6. Unitarian Universalist philosophy of the web
  7. design principles