Understanding the Internet and Internet Services
Prior to planning and implementing your Web site, you should understand each of the components required to establish a Web site on a computer running Windows NT Server.
This chapter answers the following questions:
The World Wide Web (WWW or simply the Web) gives you a graphical, easy-to-navigate interface for looking at documents on the Internet. These documents, as well as the links between them, comprise a web of information.
Files, or pages, on the Web are interconnected. You connect to other pages by clicking special text or graphics, which are called hyperlinks.
Pages can contain text, images, movies, sounds just about anything. These pages can be located on computers anywhere in the world. When you are connected to the Web, you have equal access to information worldwide.
Hyperlinks are words or graphics that have Web addresses embedded in them. By clicking a hyperlink, you jump to a particular page in a particular Web site. You can easily identify a hyperlink. Hyperlink text is usually a different color from the rest of the text on a Web page, and hyperlink graphics often have a colored border.
Each Web page, including a Web sites home page, has a unique address called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), for example, http://www.microsoft.com/home.htm. The URL specifies the name of the computer on which the page is stored and the exact path to the page.
Web servers can be configured to provide an intranet with the same features and services found on the Internet, such as serving hypertext pages (which can contain text, hyperlinks, images, and sounds), responding to Web client requests for information, and accessing a database. In this guide, these publishing services are described as Internet services whether they are running on an intranet or on the Internet.
The Internet Explorer toolbar provides a range of detailed functions and commands for managing the browser. The address bar below the toolbar displays the address of the current Web page. To go to a new Web page, you type the pages URL directly into the white space on this bar and then press ENTER on your keyboard. You can also go to a new page by clicking a hyperlink that jumps to the new page.
The Microsoft Windows NT® operating system includes Internet Explorer for Windows NT. Internet Explorer is also available for Windows® for Workgroups, Windows version 3.1, and Windows 95.
The HTML page can be a static page that has already been formatted and stored in the Web site, a page that the server dynamically creates in response to information provided by the user, or a page that lists the available files and folders on the Web site.
URL syntax is a specific sequence of protocol, domain name, and path to the requested information. The protocol is the communication method used to gain access to information; for example, Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). Internet Information Server supports the HTTP, FTP, and gopher protocols. The domain name is the Domain Name System (DNS) name of the computer that contains the information. The path is the path to the requested information on the computer. The following table shows examples of different URLs:
|Protocol||Domain Name||Path to Information|
|Static HTML page||http://www.microsoft.com/backoffice/home.htm|
|Internet Database Connector||http://www.microsoft.com/feedback/input.idc|
|Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script||http://www.company.com/calculator/add.pl?2.2|
The following illustration shows how a user can send a query to an Internet Server API (ISAPI) application that adds two numbers. The user types the two numbers to be added, then clicks a button, which in turn sends the two numbers to the Web server. The Web server calls the ISAPI application to add the numbers, then returns the results to the user in an HTML page.
The following illustration shows a user posting an order to a database using the Internet Database Connector. The user completes a form, then clicks a button, which in turn sends the data in the form to the server. The server posts the data to a database, then confirms the order by sending an HTML page.
For information about using scripts, applications, or database queries to create dynamic HTML pages, see Chapter 8, Publishing Information and Applications.
Rather than using directory listings, you can provide a default document. For more information on default documents, see Chapter 6, Planning Your Content Directories and Virtual Servers.
One of the primary factors that determines the configuration and use of Internet Information Server is whether it will be used internally by employees on your intranet, or if it will be connected to the Internet.
The following scenarios are intended to help you understand the range of possibilities for using Internet Information Server.
For example, in a small workgroup you can add Internet Information Server to an existing file and print server. The workgroups Web server can host personal Web-style pages, customized workgroup applications, serve as an interface to the workgroups Structured Query Language (SQL) database, or use Remote Access Service (RAS) to provide dial-up access to the workgroups resources from remote sites.
In a larger business with multiple departments or workgroups, each department might run Internet Information Server on an existing file server for workgroup-specific information. A central information server might be used for company-wide information, such as an employee manual or company directory.
In larger sites you can provide access from your internal network to the Internet Information Server, allowing employees to browse the server or to use authoring tools, such as Microsoft FrontPage, to create content for your server.
Internet Information Servers integration with all of the Windows NT services can also create servers with multiple functions. For example, a company with sites in different parts of the world can use Internet Information Server to provide communication between sites, with the added flexiblity of Internet access. You can even add RAS to an Internet Information Server to provide dial-up access to your intranet or the Internet.
Note Many scenarios for connecting to the Internet involve third-party routers or security devices that filter network packets between your computer and the Internet. Routers and other security devices are not indicated in the preceding illustrations.
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