Servers: Hidden Engines of the Web
Hidden Engines of the Web
We see the Web through browsers, the programs that show us Web pages. Behind the scenes are servers, networked computers that “serve up” those Web pages to our browsers.
Any computer can act as a server. Commercial racks, like the Google server rack, are the hidden engines of the Web—its unseen but essential infrastructure.
This 1999 Google server rack incorporates many technologies, each the victor in its particular arena from among competing standards. Ethernet ties the rack’s individual boards into a local area network; Internet protocols connect the rack to the larger net; Web server software sends the results to our browsers.
The Network as the Computer
Sun Microsystems championed a cherished dream of networking visionaries: making traditional operating systems, and most applications written for them, irrelevant. Sun’s Java applications would run inside browsers, with little need for conventional Microsoft or Apple software.
Earlier systems—like the 1980s Austrian MUPID, Viola, and General Magic’s Telescript—included similar ideas.
At the 1995 SunWorld conference, Marc Andreessen of Netscape and Sun’s Chief Scientist John Gage announced that Java would be built into Netscape. It was an implicit challenge to traditional operating system and application makers.View Artifact Detail
This interactive, handheld controller was designed to operate televisions, sound systems and appliances, using an animated touchscreen user interface. All the linked devices would run applets written in the Oak language, which became the basis of Java.View Artifact Detail