Webpages and Paper Pages: The Difference
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When you are viewing web pages, they look a lot like paper pages. At first glance, the process of displaying a web page is simple: You tell your computer which page you want to see, and the page appears on your screen. If the page is stored on a disk inside your computer, it appears almost instantly. If it is located on some other computer, you might have to wait for it to be retrieved.
Of course, web pages can do some very convenient things that paper pages can’t. For example, you can’t point to the words “continued on page 57″ in a paper magazine and expect page 57 to automatically appear before your eyes. Nor can you tap your finger on the bottom of a paper order form and expect it to reach the company’s order fulfillment department five seconds later. You’re not likely to see animated pictures or hear voices talk to you from most paper pages either (newfangled greeting cards aside). All these things are commonplace on web pages.
But there are some deeper differences between web pages and paper pages that you’ll need to be aware of as a web page author. For one thing, what appears as a single page on your screen may actually be an assembly of elements located in many different computer files. In fact, it’s possible (though uncommon) to create a page that combines text from a computer in Australia with pictures from a computer in Russia and sounds from a computer in Canada.