Wais - Wide Area Information Service

By: Jesse Miller

Wide area information service is a content-search service that finds the name of file given some information about the contents. It is very difficult for WAIS to search the contents of all files in the world. Therefore, the database has been divided into different sources. The user must limit the search to a particular source.

The hyper text protocol is an advanced file-retrieving application program that can access distributed and linked documents on the World Wide Web. It can access linked textual documents called hypertext or linked documents containing images, graphics, and sounds called hypermedia.

Messages in HTTP are divided into two broad categories request and response. So far only three requests packets and one type of response packet have been defined. The request command is sent from the client to the server. The response command is sent from the server to the client. The head-request command is used by the client to the server for passing information to the server. It is usually used for sending mail, news, bulletin boards, and so on.

The WWW uses the concept of hypertext. In a hypertext environment, information is stored in a set of documents. The documents are linked together using the concept of pointers. An item can be associated with another document using these pointers. The reader who is browsing through a document can move to other documents by choosing the items that are linked to other documents. A hypertext available on the web is called a page. The main page for an organization or an individual is known as a home page. Information about one specific subject can be undistributed or distributed. In the first case, the whole information may consist of one or more web pages on the same server. In the second case, the information is made of many pages distributed on different servers.

If a client needs to access a web page, it needs and address. To facilitate the access of documents distributed all over the world, WWW uses the concept of locators. The uniform resource locator (URL) is a standard for specifying any kind of information on the internet. URL defines only three things: method, host computer, and pathname.

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The method is the protocol used to retrieve the information is located. However, the name of the computer can be an alias. Today, web pages are usually stored in computers given alias names that usually begin with www.

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