The World Wide Web (abbreviated as WWW or W3, commonly known as the Web) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents that are accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them via hyperlinks.


In the May 1970 issue of Popular Science magazine, Arthur C. Clarke predicted that satellites would someday “bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to your fingertips” using a console that would combine the functionality of the photocopier, telephone, television and a small computer, allowing data transfer and video conferencing around the globe.

On March 12, 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal that referenced ENQUIRE, a database and software project he had built in 1980, and described a more elaborate information management system.

With help from Robert Cailliau, he published a more formal proposal (on 12 November 1990) to build a “Hypertext project” called “WorldWideWeb as a “web” of “hypertext documents” to be viewed by “browsers” using a client–server architecture.

The proposal was modeled after the SGML reader Dyna text by Electronic Book Technology, a spin-off from the Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship at Brown University. The Dyna text system, licensed by CERN, was a key player in the extension of SGML ISO 8879:1986 to Hypermedia within HyTime, but it was considered too expensive and had an inappropriate licensing policy for use in the general high energy physics community, namely a fee for each document and each document alteration.


In everyday speech people often use the terms “Internet” and “World Wide Web” almost interchangeably. However, the Internet differs from the World Wide Web. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. In contrast, the “Web” is one of the services that run on the Internet. It is a collection of text documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs, usually accessed by web browsers from web servers.

Viewing a web page on the World Wide Web normally begins either by typing the URL of the page into a web browser, or by following a hyperlink to that page or resource.

Then initiates a series of background communication messages to fetch and display the requested page. In the 1990s, using a browser to view web pages—and to move from one web page to another through hyperlinks—came to be known as ‘browsing,’ ‘web surfing,’ or ‘navigating the Web’. Early studies of this new behavior investigated user patterns in using web browsers. One study, for example, found five user patterns: exploratory surfing, window surfing, evolved surfing, bounded navigation and targeted navigation.


A concept is expected to have some correspondence with any realizations of the architecture. For example, the message concept identifies a class of object that we expect to be able to identify in any Web services context. The precise form of a message may be different in different realizations, but the message concept tells us what to look for in a given concrete system rather than prescribing its precise form.

Not all concepts will have a realization in terms of data objects or structures occurring in computers or communications devices; for example the person or organization refers to people and human organizations. Other concepts are more abstract still; for example, message reliability denotes a property of the message transport service — a property that cannot be touched but nonetheless is important to Web services.

Each concept is presented in a regular, stylized way consisting of a short definition, an enumeration of the relationships with other concepts, and a slightly longer explanatory description. For example, the concept of agent includes as relating concepts the fact that an agent is a computational resource, has an identifier and an owner. The description part of the agent explains in more detail why agents are important to the architecture.


Relationships denote associations between concepts. Grammatically, relationships are verbs; or more accurately, predicates. A statement of a relationship typically takes the form: concept predicate concept. For example, in agent, we state that:

An agent is a computational resource

This statement makes an assertion, in this case about the nature of agents. Many such statements are descriptive, others are definitive:

A message has -a message sender

Such a statement makes an assertion about valid instances of the architecture: we expect to be able to identify the message sender in any realization of the architecture. Conversely, any system for which we cannot identify the sender of a message is not conformant to the architecture. Even if a service is used anonymously, the sender has an identifier but it is not possible to associate this identifier with an actual person or organization.



Concept Maps

Many of the concepts in the architecture are illustrated with concept maps. A concept map is an informal, graphical way to illustrate key concepts and relationships. For example the diagram:

                               Concept Map


shows three concepts which are related in various ways. Each box represents a concept, and each arrow (or labeled arc) represents a relationship.

The merit of a concept map is that it allows rapid navigation of the key concepts and illustrates how they relate to each other. It should be stressed however that these diagrams are primarily navigational aids; the written text is the definitive source.

The four models are:

  • The Message Oriented Model focuses on messages, message structure, and message transport and so on — without particular reference as to the reasons for the messages, nor to their significance.


  • The essence of the message model revolves around a few key concepts illustrated above: the agent that sends and receives messages, the structure of the message in terms of message headers and bodies and the mechanisms used to deliver messages. Of course, there are additional details to consider: the role of policies and how they govern the message level model. The abridged diagram shows the key concepts; the detailed diagram expands on this to include many more concepts and relationships.
  • The Service Oriented Model focuses on aspects of service, action and so on. While clearly, in any distributed system, services cannot be adequately realized without some means of messaging, the converse is not the case: messages do not need to relate to services.

The Service Oriented Model is the most complex of all the models in the architecture. However, it too revolves around a few key ideas. A service is realized by an agent and used by another agent. Services are mediated by means of the messages exchanged between requester agents and provider agents.

A very important aspect of services is their relationship to the real world: services are mostly deployed to offer functionality in the real world. We model this by elaborating on the concept of a service’s owner — which, whether it is a person or an organization, has a real world responsibility for the service.

Finally, the Service Oriented Model makes use of meta-data, which, as described in  Oriented Architecture, is a key property of Service Oriented Architectures. This meta-data is used to document many aspects of services: from the details of the interface and transport binding to the semantics of the service and what policy restrictions there may be on the service. Providing rich descriptions is key to successful deployment and use of services across the Internet.


  • The resource model is adopted from the Web Architecture concept of resource. We expand on this to incorporate the relationships between resources and owners.
  • The Policy Model focuses on constraints on the behavior of agents and services. We generalize this to resources since policies can apply equally to documents (such as descriptions of services) as well as active computational resources.





Message Oriented Model

The Message Oriented Model focuses on those aspects of the architecture that relate to messages and the processing of them. Specifically, in this model, we are not concerned with any semantic significance of the content of a message or its relationship to other messages. However, the MOM does focus on the structure of messages, on the relationship between message senders and receivers and how messages are transmitted.


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