Over the past decades, the Internet has fundamentally influenced almost all areas of our everyday lives. It has profoundly changed the ways in which we communicate, gather information, and consume media, and has led to the emergence of Internet companies that are based on fundamentally new business models. This chapter introduces Internet computing as a scientific field that is concerned with applications provided via the Internet, the underlying architectures and technologies necessary to build such applications, and systemic matters that inform the design of such applications. Based on these foundations, this chapter outlines this book’s structure. In addition to defining Internet computing and briefly presenting the chapters, an overview of the historical background and development of the Internet is provided. This chapter also introduces the concepts of information systems (IS) and distributed systems as important related scientific fields that shaped the ways Internet-based applications have been designed. To round off this introduction, several common Internet-based applications are presented.
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