The World Wide Web (WWW) is a system of interconnected hypertext documents accessed through the internet. Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) are used to identify resources on the internet. HTML, XML, JSON, RSS, and JSONP are different data formats used for exchanging information over the internet. HTML is primarily used for web pages, while XML is more flexible and used for data exchange. JSON is commonly used for data transfer between a server and a web application, while RSS is a web feed format used to publish frequently updated content. JSONP is a method for cross-domain AJAX requests. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is used to transfer data over the internet between web clients and servers. HTTP requests are used by clients to request resources from a server, while HTTP responses are used by servers to send requested resources back to clients. AJAX requests are asynchronous HTTP requests used to dynamically update web pages without requiring a full page refresh. The Same-Origin Policy is a security measure that prevents web pages from accessing resources on a different domain. Workarounds for the Same-Origin Policy include using JSONP or cross-origin resource sharing (CORS). Web Developer Tools are software applications used by developers to debug and optimize web applications.

Topics covered:

  • WWW and URL
  • The HTTP Protocol
    • HTTP Request
    • HTTP Response
  • AJAX Requests
  • Same-Origin Policy
    • Workarounds
  • Web Developer Tools

Video (in Bulgarian)

Presentation Content

What is WWW?

  • WWW = World Wide Web = Web
    • Global distributed information system in Internet
      • A service in Internet (like E-mail, DNS, ...)
    • Consists of set of documents (and other resources) located on different Internet servers
      • Accessed through standard protocols like HTTP, HTTPS and FTP by their URL
    • Web servers provide Web content
    • Web browsers display the Web content

WWW Components

  • Structural components
    • Internet – provides data transfer channels over the TCP and HTTP protocols
    • Clients (Web browsers) – display Web content
    • Web servers – IIS, Apache, Tomcat, GWS, etc.
  • Semantic components
    • Hyper Text Transfer Protocol ( HTTP )
    • Hyper Text Markup Language ( HTML )
    • Uniform Resource Locator ( URL )
      • Uniform Resource Identifiers ( URIs )

WWW Infrastructure

  • Clients use Web browser application to request resources from the Web servers via HTTP
    • Resources have unique URL address
  • Servers send the requested resource as a response
    • Or reply with an error message
  • Web pages are resources in WWW
    • HTML text, graphics, animations and other files
  • Web sites
    • Web sites are sets of Web pages in WWW
  • Client’s browser renders Web pages returned by the Web servers
    • Pages are in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
    • Browsers shows the text, graphics, sounds, etc.
    • HTML pages contain hyperlinks to other pages
  • The entire WWW system runs over standard networking protocols
    • TCP, DNS, HTTP, FTP, …
  • The HTTP protocol is fundamental for WWW


  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
    • Unique resource location in WWW, e.g.
  • It is just a formatted string, consisting of:
    • Protocol for communicating with the server (e.g., http , ftp , https , ...)
    • Name of the server or IP address + optional port (e.g. , )
    • Path and name of the resource (e.g. index.php )
    • Parameters (optional, e.g. ?id=27&lang=en )

URL Encoding

  • URLs are encoded according RFC 1738:
    • “Only alphanumeric [0-9a-zA-Z], the special characters $-_.+!*’() and reserved characters used for their reserved purposes may be used unencoded within an URL.”
  • All other characters are escaped with the formula:
    • %[character hex code in ISO-Latin character set]
    • Example: space has decimal code 32, in hex – 20, so space in URL becomes %20
    • Space can also be encoded as " + "


  • H yper T ext M arkup L anguage ( HTML )
    • Notation for describing formatted text with images and hyperlinks
    • Interpreted and displayed by the Web browsers
  • A Web ( HTML ) page consists of:
    • HTML file
    • CSS stylesheet file (optional)
    • A bunch of images (optional)
    • Other resources (optional)
  • HTML is straight-forward and easy to learn
    • HTML documents are plain text files
      • Easy to add formatting, hyperlinks, bullets, etc.
      • Images can be added as separate files
    • Can be automatically generated by authoring programs
      • Tools to help users creating HTML pages
      • E.g. FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Visual Studio
      • WYSIWYG HTML editors

HTML – Example

  <head><title>HTML Example</title></head>
    <h3>Heading 1</h3>
    <h2>Sub heading 2</h2>
    <h3>Sub heading 3</h3>
    <p>This is my first paragraph</p>
    <p>This is my second paragraph</p>
    <div align="center"
      This is a div</div>   


  • XML is markup-language for encoding documents in machine-readable form
    • Text-based format
    • Consists of tags, attributes and content
    • Provide data and meta-data in the same time
<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <book><title>HTML 5</title><author>Bay Ivan</author></book>
  <book><title>WPF 4</title><author>Microsoft</author></book>
  <book><title>WCF 4</title><author>Kaka Mara</author></book>
  <book><title>UML 2.0</title><author>Bay Ali</author></book>


  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
    • Family of Web feed formats for publishing frequently updated works
      • E.g. blog entries, news headlines, videos, etc.
    • Based on XML, with standardized XSD schema
  • RSS documents (feeds) are list of items
    • Each containing title, author, publish date, summarized text, and metadata
  • Atom protocol aimed to enhance / replace RSS

RSS – Example

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<rss version="2.0">
  <title>W3Schools Home Page</title>
  <description>Free web building tutorials</description>
    <title>RSS Tutorial</title>
    <description>New RSS tutorial on W3Schools</description>
    <title>XML Tutorial</title>
    <description>New XML tutorial on W3Schools</description>


  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
    • Standard for representing simple data structures and associative arrays
    • Lightweight text-based open standard
    • Derived from the JavaScript language
  "firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith", "age": 25,
  "address": { "streetAddress": "33 Alex. Malinov Blvd.",
     "city": "Sofia", "postalCode": "10021" },
  "phoneNumber": [{ "type": "home", "number": "212 555-1234"},
    { "type": "fax", "number": "646 555-4567" }]
{ "firstName": "Bay", "lastName": "Ivan", "age": 79 }


  • Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
    • Client-server protocol for transferring Web resources (HTML files, images, styles, etc.)
  • Important properties of HTTP
    • Request-response model
    • Text-based format
    • Relies on unique resource URLs
    • Provides resource metadata (e.g. encoding)
    • Stateless (cookies can overcome this)

HTTP: Request-Response Protocol

  • Client program
    • Running on end host
    • E.g. Web browser
    • Requests a resource
  • Server program
    • Running at the server
    • E.g. Web server
    • Provides resources
GET /index.html
HTTP/1.0 200 OK
"Welcome to our
Web site!"

Example: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

  • HTTP Request
    • The empty line (<CRLF>) denotes the end of the request header
GET /academy/about.aspx HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0
  • HTTP Response
    • The empty line (<CRLF>) denotes the end of the response header
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2010 13:09:03 GMT
Server: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/2.0
Last-Modified: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 15:33:23 GMT
Content-Length: 54
Welcome to our site</html>

HTTP Request Message

  • Request message sent by a client consists of
    • Request line – request method (GET, POST, HEAD, ...), resource URI, and protocol version
    • Request headers – additional parameters
    • Body – optional data
      • E.g. posted form data, files, etc.
<request method> <resource> HTTP/<version>
<empty line>

HTTP GET Request – Example

GET /academy/winter-2009-2010.aspx HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: bg
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0(compatible;MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP POST Request – Example

POST /webmail/login.phtml HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: bg
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0(compatible;MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache
Content-Length: 59

Conditional HTTP GET – Example

GET /academy/join.aspx HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6
If-Modified-Since: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 11:12:23 GMT
  • Fetches the resource only if it has been changed at the server
    • Server replies with “ 304 Not Modified ” if the resource has not been changed
    • Or “ 200 OK ” with the latest version otherwise

HTTP Response Message

  • Response message sent by the server
    • Status line – protocol version, status code, status phrase
    • Response headers – provide meta data
    • Body – the contents of the response (the requested resource)
HTTP/<version> <status code> <status text>
<response body – the requested resource>

HTTP Response – Example

  • Example of HTTP response from the Web server:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2010 16:09:18 GMT+2
Server: Apache/2.2.14 (Linux)
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 84
Content-Type: text/html
  <body>Test HTML page.</body>
  • Example of HTTP response with error result:
HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2010 16:09:18 GMT+2
Server: Apache/2.2.14 (Linux)
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html
<TITLE>404 Not Found</TITLE>
<h3>Not Found</h3>
The requested URL /img/telerik-logo.gif was not found on this server.<P>
<HR><ADDRESS>Apache/2.2.14 Server at Port 80</ADDRESS>

Content-Type and Disposition

  • The Content-Type header at the server specifies how the output should be processed
  • Examples:
    • UTF-8 encoded HTML page. Will be shown in the browser
      Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
    • This will download a PDF file named Financial-Report-April-2010.pdf
      Content-Type: application/pdf
      Content-Disposition: attachment;

HTTP Request Methods

  • HTTP request methods:
    • GET
      • Return the specified resource, run a program at the server, or just download file, …
    • HEAD
      • Return the meta-data associated with a resource (headers only)
    • POST
      • Update a resource, provide input data for processing at the server, …

HTTP Response Codes

  • HTTP response code classes
    • 1xx : informational (e.g., “ 100 Continue ”)
    • 2xx : success (e.g., “ 200 OK ”)
    • 3xx : redirection (e.g., “ 304 Not Modified ”, " 302 Found ")
    • 4xx : client error (e.g., “ 404 Not Found ”)
    • 5xx : server error (e.g., “ 503 Service Unavailable ”)
  • " 302 Found " is used for redirecting the Web browser to another URL

Browser Redirection

  • HTTP browser redirection example
    • HTTP GET requesting a moved URL:
      GET / HTTP/1.1
      User-Agent: Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6
    • The HTTP response says the browser should request another URL:
      HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

Web Services

  • A web service is a method of communication between two devices in WWW
    • The server device exposes services
    • The client consumes these services
  • Web services are a main part of the SOA architecture
    • Database and Business logic on the server
      • The server exposes public services
    • UI logic on the client
      • Consumes these services

What is REST?

“Representational state transfer (REST) is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web.”

  • Application state and functionality are resources
    • Resources are used as common data files
  • Every resource has an URI
  • All resources share a uniform interface
  • This natively maps to the HTTP protocol

RESTful Services


  • AJAX is acronym of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML
    • Technique for background loading of dynamic content and data from the server side
    • Allows dynamic client-side changes
  • Two styles of AJAX
    • Partial page rendering – loading of HTML fragment and showing it in a _<div> _ (AHAH)
    • JSON service – loading JSON object and client-side processing it with JavaScript / jQuery
  • Technically, AJAX is a group of technologies working together
    • HTML & CSS for presentation
    • The DOM for data display & interaction
    • XML (or JSON) for data interchange
    • XMLHttpRequest for async communication
    • JavaScript to use the above
  • AJAX uses HTTP
    • Requests have headers – GET, POST, HEAD, etc.
    • Requests have bodies – XML, JSON or plain text
    • The request must target a resource with a URI
    • The resource must understand the request
      • Server-side logic
    • Requests get a HTTP Response
      • Header with a body

Same Origin Policy

  • Security concept for browser-side programming languages
  • Scripts running on pages from the same site
    • i.e. the same origin
    • Can access each other without restriction
  • Scripts cannot access pages on different sites
  • This also applies to XMLHttpRequest
    • Sent only between pages with same origin

Origin Determination Rules

  • Origin is defined using
    • Domain name (e.g.
    • Application layer protocol (e.g. http)
    • Port number (not all browsers!)
    • Two resources are of the same origin if all of the above match

Relaxing Same Origin Policy

  • Same origin policy is sometimes too restrictive
    • Large sites with lots of subdomains
    • Accessing web services
  • Ways of “relaxing”
    • document.domain – can be set to a superdomain when in proper subdomain
    • Cross document messaging – HTML5, postMessage() to page in <iframe>
    • Cross Origin Resource Sharing
  • Workaround – JSONP


  • JSON with padding (also JSON prefix)
  • Same origin policy denies cross-origin requests
    • But not for the <script> tag
    • The <script> tag can be exploited
  • Retrieve JS code and the browser executes it
    • In the case of a service, we get a JSON object
    • The script tag can have a callback
    <script type="text/javascript"
    • We receive parseResponse(…)

JSONP – How it Works

  • After the script URL, we add a query parameter ?jsonp= (or ?callback=)
    • This parameter tells the server what to return
    • The server wraps its return value in the specified callback
    • Example
      • server returns a JSON object {“age”:“5”}
      • the query parameter is ?callback=parseResponse
      • The browser executes the following JS code:

JSONP – the “Padding”

  • The callback function in the example is called the “padding”
  • Typically its used to pass the JSON to a function, which acts as a handler, but it can be anything else
    • Variable assignment, if statement, etc.
    • What we receive is JS code, not JSON
      • This is a security concern

Web Developer Tools

  • Firebug plug-in for Firefox
    • A must have for Web developers
    • The ultimate tool for monitoring, editing and debugging HTTP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.
    • Free, open-source –
  • Fiddler – HTTP proxy
    • Intercepts the HTTP traffic
    • Analyzes the HTTP conversation
    • Free tool (by Telerik) –
  • Wireshark packet analyzer
    • Low-level packet sniffer
    • Intercepts the entire IP network traffic
    • Can reconstruct the HTTP conversation
    • Can intercept any (unencrypted) protocol
      • Can intercept passwords sent in clear-text
    • Free, open-source project –