Re: Proper Webs

Subject: Re: Proper Webs
From: Trent Clowater <trent -at- OODB -dot- SYSCOM -dot- COM -dot- TW>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 19:36:04 +-900

// How so? How does a web page, site, browser, or administrator
// differ from a radio station, program, receiver, or broadcaster?

// If you capitalize "web" then don't you have to capitalize "radio" too?

There is a big difference between a "radio" and a "web".

A radio is the little box on your desk that plays music. It is a concrete object.

A web is a term used to denote electronic documents connected together within some arbitrary boundaries using hyperlinks and some protocol to allow those links to operate. It is an abstract concept.

The Web is a short form of The World Wide Web, a collection of electronic documents connected together with no defined boundaries using hyperlinks and the HTTP protocol. It is the NAME given to this collection.

If you want to use the radio analogy, then a browser is the same as a radio. Both receive information and deliver it to the end user. Both are common nouns.

The web server is the same as a radio transmitter, and it serves the web in it's local storage to end users. The web site is like a radio station, allowing end users to receive the work of the people who work for that location. In both cases I used lower case, because they are specific to their local web. (Although you could argue that they serve it to the WWW, and so should be capitalized. I would accept either depending on the context of what is being written, as long as it is used consistently.)

A web document is the same as a radio program, giving the end user information on a single topic or idea, or in a particular style. Again I would say uppercase or lowercase is okay, for the same reasons as mentioned above, as it is used consistently.

However, The Web IS The World Wide Web. We shouldn't be confused by the fact that The Web is also a web. Both are invented terms. It just happens that one is a proper noun and one is a common noun, and they are both used for very closely related things.

As a case in point, look at The Internet. The Internet is an internet. Again both are invented terms, and both happen to be used for closely related things. But this case is a little more clear. First there was The Internet, which was the name given to the "inter-network" of computers known as DARPANET by some of the people who were using it. But since most English speakers are basically lazy and English is an evolutionary language, the term inter-network was gradually shortened to inter-net and then internet, just like the name of that really big one everyone seemed to be talking about.

Sorry this message is so long, but I wanted to see if I could persuade our fellow dissenting reader to agree with the other 99% of the people who posted on this topic, and who I felt were correct. For a shorter summary of what I've said above, see the post by Frederic Wronecki dated Wednesday, September 18, 1996, 11:02:39. I thought it was very clear and to the point.

Trent Clowater
Syscom Computer Engineering Corporation
trent -at- oodb -dot- syscom -dot- com -dot- tw


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