‘Web’ just one part of the Internet

In our past discussions, we have thrown around the terms “Internet” and “web,” and I have done my best not to use these terms interchangeably.
This is for good reason, too; namely because they are not the same thing. It is a subtle difference, but it is an important one in trying to make sense of all the technologies out there.
To flesh out this difference, let us return to our analogy of the Internet (notice I said Internet and not web) as a big highway system.
We can see there are a lot of different vehicles travelling our highways and they are out there for a lot of different reasons.
All these roads and vehicles, which you will remember we equated to the cables and wires of the Internet and the data packets that travel them, cumulatively can be compared with what we refer to as the Internet.
Now if we look at a subset of those vehicles, say all the vehicles involved in picking up and delivering mail, we can get an idea of what we would call the “web.”
As you will recall from the last column, the pages we view in our browsers use the HTTP protocol to send data between browsers and servers. Just as with our vehicles carrying mail, HTTP encompasses a specific type of traffic doing a specific job.
And just as with our highways, the Internet has a lot of other traffic doing a lot of different jobs.
For example, we have e-mail flying around the Internet using SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol), files are being moved between computers on the Internet using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and services like Skype (an Internet phone service) have there own protocols for transferring audio and visual data.
And the list goes on and on.
So the web, then, is just part of the Internet, albeit the largest part right now. The number of services and technologies utilizing the Internet, though, is growing all the time as people think of new ways to do so.
It even could be that some new technology could come along and make the web obsolete, though in all likelihood it would be built on the Internet.
Troy L’Hirondelle is a programmer and systems administrator at Times Web Design.

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