Today’s Internet and World-Wide Web
We have witnessed a remarkable acceleration of technological innovation and economic globalization. This has been attributed to the emergence of the internet and Web technologies that provide a standardized, platform-independent, accessible and converged communications architecture and infrastructure. The emergence and rapid evolution of this digital communications channel and its technologies have enhanced and shortened the physical and service B2B, B2C and C2C global supply and value chains through XML-based Web services and service-oriented architectures (SOA). This has leveled the global market space by lowering entrance barriers, increasing competition and providing ubiquitous access to information to anyone with internet access. We are now seeing the explosive growth of mobile computing technologies and just-in-time information. Equally important, Web information and metrics have proven to be increasingly important to senior decision makers as they now form the basis of marketing analytics and business intelligence (BI). In short, we now acknowledge that the Web and internet are now integral and requisite components of business and the proper use and application of these technologies can lead to the competitive advantage critical to sustaining profitability.
Web Design History
We can trace the history of Web design by noting that at its inception, it was a simple two-tiered client-server (C/S) architecture where a Web server responded to client requests by delivering static HTML-based webpages to the client's browser for rendering. In this early stage of the dot.com boom, most of the effort was spent on graphic design as Web developers saw the Web as a traditional one-way medium much like radio or television. Needless to say, this Web 1.0 model did not succeed (e.g., dot.com bust) and we have moved on to providing users the rich, dynamic multimedia-based experience we now take for granted. To provide users with this richer virtual experience, it was necessary to develop dynamic personalized content and functionality equivalent to desktop computing. From an architectural standpoint, this required that we evolve to a component-based, multi-tiered architecture (e.g., Web Services, SOA and RIA) in contrast to the two-tiered C/S model and in an effort to provide users with the necessary functionality and responsiveness they expect.
Multi-tiered Architectures and Rich Internet Applications
A basic three-tiered, multi-tiered architecture is characterized by a first-tier presentation layer (e.g., Web browser that accepts input and displays results), a middle-tier, server-side application layer composed of business logic and a third-tier backend database layer responsible for data mapping, access, storage and manipulation. The three-tiered architecture represents an improvement when contrasted with the two-tiered model, as it removes the business logic from the client- and server-side layers and places them in the middle-application layer. Moving the business logic to middle-tier, server-side application servers provides a flexible and adaptable framework capable of supporting existing and emergent heterogeneous platforms (e.g., browsers, handhelds, mobile phones). Critically important to our dynamic environment cited above, an n-tier architecture separation provides the agility and flexibility necessary to design and implement new functionality in accord with today's rapid time-to-market constraints.
Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Recently, we have witnessed another revolution, often called Web 2.0. As a basis, Web 2.0 functionality is able to take advantage of Metcalfe’s network effect by building applications that promote asynchronous communication, collaboration and collective intelligence. While the term Web 2.0 is nebulous, many authors define it as a participatory, full-duplex, conversational medium characterized by user forums, blogs and Wikis. Many leading companies (e.g., IBM, Wachovia) are now deploying Web 2.0 functionality to enhance communication and collaboration and to increase their dynamic capabilities. Web 3.0 is moving beyond storage and presentation of information and represents a large leap forward as it works at the semantic level. With this basis, the evolution of Web technologies is really about creating a knowledge-based network rather than a data or information network.
Note that in accord with the emergent and transitory CIS discipline, the CIS department and CWW degree will remain abreast of emergent theories and technology and rapidly prepare and present new curriculum material as necessary.