Though it began as a military experiment and spent its adolescence as a sandbox for academics and eccentrics, in less than a decade just before the new millennium, the worldwide network of computer networks (a.k.a. the Internet) matured into a highly diversified, financially important community of computer users and information vendors. From the boardroom to your living room, you can bump into Internet users of nearly any and all nationalities, of any and all persuasions, from serious to frivolous individuals, from businesses to nonprofit organizations, and from born-again Christian evangelists to pornographers.
In many ways, the Webthe open community of hypertext-enabled document servers and readers on the Internetis responsible for the meteoric rise in the network’s popularity. You, too, can become a valued member by contributing: writing HTML and XHTML documents and then making them available to web surfers worldwide.
Let’s climb up the Internet family tree to gain some deeper insight into its magnificence, not only as an exercise of curiosity, but also to help us better understand just who and what we are dealing with when we go online.