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The University of Southampton

COMP6218 Web Architecture

Module Overview

The World Wide Web is a global information infrastructure that underpins the digital economy, our own social interactions and the world's cultures. It is built on a simple model of information exchange (the original Web architecture) that has evolved and adapted to new technologies and social opportunities, from Web pages of factual and encyclopaedic content to smartphone apps and Instagrammed breakfasts. This module looks at the technical architecture underlying the Web, its subsequent evolution to deal with problems of scale and sustainability, the hypertext research that has informed its development and the ecology of information that has grown up around it.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The technical architecture of the World Wide Web
  • Principles of Web information design
  • The common standards for identification, representation and interaction on the Web
  • The history of hypertext, its relationship with the Web, and current research issues
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the key characteristics of the Web Architecture
  • Understand and use the Representational State Transfer (REST) architectural style of Web applications and APIs
  • Critically evaluate Web information practices
  • Understand how monetised, scaled information delivery is achieved
  • Understand net neutrality issues
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Intellectual property legislation
  • The roles of technical standards bodies
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use common Web analysis technologies; data editors, browser inspectors, protocol analysers
  • Analyse and use RESTful Web applications


- The Architecture of the World Wide Web - HTTP protocol and Representational State Transfer - Hypertext: fundamentals, pioneers, hyperetxt writing, hypertext fiction, open hypermedia - Data Formats: TXT, HTML, CSS, XML, SVG, MathML, Office Open XML, EPub, PDF, CSV - The Web graph & search engines - Content delivery networks - Web advertising networks - Intellectual property, copyright and licensing - Net neutrality - Standards bodies

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Face-to-face lectures, video lectures and discussions, practical laboratory sessions.

Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task2
Wider reading or practice66
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

J. Webber, S. Parastatidis and I. Robinson (2010). REST in Practice. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 50%
Final Assessment  50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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