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Chapter 23

A Taste of the Internet

The Internet—that vast interconnection of computers around the world that implement various protocols to exchange information—has redefined several aspects of personal computing in recent years. Although dial-up information services and electronic mail systems existed prior to the proliferation of the Internet, they were often restricted to character mode and were essentially unlinked. Each information service, for example, required dialing a different telephone number and logging on with a different user ID and password. Each email system allowed sending and receiving mail only among people who subscribed to that particular system.

Today, dialing one phone number generally connects with the whole of the Internet and allows universal correspondence with anyone who has email. Particularly in the World Wide Web, the use of hypertext, graphics, and multimedia (including sound, music, and video) has extended the range and versatility of online information.

A complete tutorial covering all the programming topics in Microsoft Windows that relate to the Internet would probably require several additional books. Instead, this chapter focuses on just two areas that might be useful to small Microsoft Windows applications for obtaining information from the Internet. These are the Windows Sockets (WinSock) API and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) support of the Windows Internet (WinInet) API.