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   W3 is an Emacs subsystem that allows the user to browse the wonderful
World Wide Web.

   The World Wide Web was started at the CERN physics institute in
Switzerland in 1991.  The project was initially started by Tim
Berners-Lee (timbl@info.cern.ch) for distributing data between
different research groups effectively.

   The Web has since grown into the most advanced information system
currently on the internet.  It is now a global hypertext system with
servers and browsers (programs written to interpret the hypertext
language and display it correctly, and allow the user to follow links)
exist for all major platforms (VMS, Windows, DOS, Unix, VM, NeXTstep,
and Macintosh).

   The basic concepts used in the Web are hypertext and hypermedia.
Hypertext is the same as regular text, with one exception - it can
contain links (cross-references) to other textual documents.  Hypermedia
is slightly different - it can contain links to other forms of media
(movies, sounds, interactive programs, etc).

   WWW also allows searches of indices that are located anywhere on the
network; in this respect, it mirrors certain capabilities found in both
WAIS and Gopher.


                           CLIENT SIDE VIEW


   The WWW world consists of documents, and links.  Indexes are special
documents which, rather than being read, may be searched.  The result of
such a search is another virtual document containing links to the
documents found.  A simple protocol, HTTP is used to allow a browser
program to request a keyword search by a remote information server.

   The web contains documents in many formats.  Those documents which
are hypertext, (real or virtual) contain links to other documents, or
places within documents.  All documents, whether real, virtual or
indexes, look similar to the reader and are contained within the same
addressing scheme.


                       INFORMATION PROVIDER VIEW


   The WWW browsers can access many existing data systems via existing
protocols (FTP, NNTP) or via HTTP and a gateway.  In this way, the
critical mass of data is quickly exceeded, and the increasing use of the
system by readers and information suppliers encourage each other.

   Providing information is as simple as running the WWW server and
pointing it at an existing directory structure.  The server
automatically generates the a hypertext view of your files to guide the
user around.

   To personalize it, you can write a few SGML hypertext files to give
an even more friendly view.  Also, any file available by anonymous FTP,
or any internet newsgroup can be immediately linked into the web.  The
very small start-up effort is designed to allow small contributions.  At
the other end of the scale, large information providers may provide an
HTTP server with full text or keyword indexing.  This may allow access
to a large existing database without changing the way that database is
managed.  Such gateways have already been made into Oracle(tm), WAIS,
and Digital's VMS/Help systems, to name but a few.

   The WWW model gets over the frustrating incompatibilities of data
format between suppliers and reader by allowing negotiation of format
between a smart browser and a smart server.  This should provide a
basis for extension into multimedia, and allow those who share
application standards to make full use of them across the web.

   Here is some more specific information about what W3 does and does
not understand:

* Markup Languages Supported
The different markup languages that W3 understands natively.
* Supported Protocols
The different network protocols that W3 speaks to.

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