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Popular Online Applications and Tools

By: Elisabeth Myrick

The Internet is a tool millions of people utilize each day to conduct business, both personal and professional. Within the Internet are countless applications and tools that are only available to smaller groups of people. What are all these different subsets of pages and how does it all work together?

Well, first it is important to understand exactly what the Internet is. Basically, the Internet is a series of interconnected computer networks from around the globe. These networks are accessible by the general public (in contrast to an intranet) and the networks transmit data by switching packets of information using Internet Protocol. What that really means, is the Internet is a network of networks, consisting of millions of smaller networks found in academia, the business world, personal computers and government networks. Together, these networks carry various information and services, such as e-mail, online chats, file transfers and interlinked Web pages and other resources of the World Wide Web (WWW).

The Internet and the WWW are not synonymous. The Internet describes a collection of interconnected computer networks, physically linked by wires, cables, and wireless cables. The Web is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs and is one of the services via the Internet, along with e-mail, file sharing, etc.

The Internet protocol suite is a collection of standards and protocols organized into layers where each layer provides the foundation and services the layer above requires. The third layer is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is considered and application later protocol. This layer provides user agents, such as Web browsers, with access to the files, documents and other resources of the Web.

An intranet is a private network of computers that utilizes Internet Protocols and connected networks to securely share part of an organization’s information or operations between employees, usually specifically referring to the most visible service, the internal Web site. Internal Web sites and intranets use the same concepts and technologies as the Internet.

The difference between an intranet and an extranet is that intranets are usually restricted to employees while extranets can be utilized by suppliers or customers.

So how do you connect to the Internet or an intranet? Usually via a Web application. A Web application or Webapp is an application that can be accessed via the World Wide Web over either an intranet or the Internet. Web applications are popularly used to implement Web mail, online retail sales, online auctions, wikis, discussion boards, blogs and other functions. One of the main reasons Web applications are so popular is that they are able to be updated and maintained without having to distribute and install software on each computer.

A web application or webapp is an application that is accessed via the web over a network such as the Internet or an intranet.

The Internet and World Wide Web are constantly growing mediums. They impact nearly everyone on a daily basis and more and more businesses are utilizing the Internet and Web to market their business to millions of potential customers. Better understanding this growing medium is key to successfully growing a business, as well as utilizing this tool.