Protocols and Links

On the previous page I mentioned that a URL started with http:// or the hypertext transfer protocol. On a basic level, protocols could be considered languages, in order for two computers to talk to each other, they have to "speak" the same language. There is a lot more to defining protocols, but for our discussion this should suffice. We already know that Web pages are written in the Hypertext Markup Language, so the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is used to send Web pages over the Internet. If you are "surfing the Net" and type "" into the location bar of your browser, you are sending a request through the internet, asking for the web page of your textbook. In addition to requesting the page, you are also telling your internet service provider to send the page to you using the hypertext transfer protocol.

Most of the links you create for your web pages will be using the http protocol, however, anchors can support a number of different protocols depending on what the target for that link is. For example, if you wanted to link a file that's located on an FTP server, the link might look like "<A HREF=""> Get my file ! </A>. (FTP is the File Transfer Protocol). Most of the protocols that anchors support are rarely used, so I won't cover them here. There is one additional type of anchor that is very useful however.

<A HREF="mailto:"> </A>
This is known as a mailto link. The proper usage is <A HREF=""> Send Me Mail </A>. What happens when someone clicks on this link is their browser launches an email window, with the email address you specified already filled in. You may want to use this to ask people for comments about your web site, or just to meet others around the world.

Try It !

The following link is: <A HREF=""> Send Me Some Mail !! </A>.

Send Me Some Mail !!
NOTE: The email address is fictitious so you will get an error if you really try to send it, but go ahead and click on the link to see what happens.

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