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What's the technical side to connecting to a site like facebook

Last response: in Networking
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May 3, 2011 8:51:23 PM

I am wondering exactly what happens when a connection is made to a website - Facebook.com for example. I am trying to see if I can present enough of the details to fulfill the requirements for one of my classes.


Using Facebook.com as an example this is some of the step I can come up for establishing communication with Facebook's server and getting the initial log in page then with the end of the analysis being the default profile page.

Here's what I have come up with

1) Enter Facebook.com in url box and hit enter or go

2) DNS lookup of facebook.com on the DNS server specified for the local computer. (or locally if it is cached)

3) Establish an HTTP/HTTPS connection to Facebook.com (This is were I lack lots of details)

4) Facebook.com returns an HTML page for login (during this it also places some cookies on the local machine)

5) Return the authentication data to Facebook (via HTTPS I assume, which opens the door for all sorts of talk about encryption, SSL, certificates, etc)

6) Facebook.com then creates a HTML page for the authenticated user from its databases and the programming on all of its servers. (This is of least importance to me.)

7) The HTML doc is returned to the local machine for parsing by the web browser.

8) Web browser then parse HTML, runs scripts, and connects to various other servers for data.

9) Connection stays open for things like Facebook chat.


Any help, even a word or two is greatly appreciated as I know many of you have much more experience with this stuff than myself. I do not need a through explanation for the most part.
May 3, 2011 10:51:41 PM

What you want to install is a program called Fiddler2 for IE. This is debugging proxy and will let you see all the http requests and responses. Once installed, start IE, launch fiddler2 from the tools menu, then enter a url into IE and fiddler will look at all the traffic.

If you also have firefox installed you can install and add on called Firebug. This will let you see all the javascript that's ran on the page you've requested. You can add breakpoints and debug through the code if you like.

Using both these tools should let you see what is going on when you request an html page or any web resource.
May 4, 2011 5:58:15 PM

That is perfect. Thank you very much. That will help me out a lot.
May 4, 2011 10:24:30 PM

No problem, glad to help. Enjoy your class.
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