Internet and Web Technologies

Peter Wood

This module is an option on the MSc and MRes programmes offered by the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck, University of London.

It is presented in the second term on Tuesdays (18:00-21:00) in UCL Malet Place, Engineering 1.02.


To provide students with an understanding of how network protocols work, particularly those used on the Internet, and the ability to present and manipulate information on the World Wide Web, with an emphasis on XML.


By two-hour written examination and by two pieces of practical coursework. The written examination will have a weighting of 80% and the coursework a weighting of 20% of the final mark.

Pre-requisites and co-requisites

The ability to program is essential. This need not be in an object-oriented language, although that ability would be helpful. Some basic knowledge of HTML and databases is assumed; if this is lacking, however, it can be obtained through self-study of on-line resources.


Lecture schedule and slides


  1. S. Jacobs, Beginning XML with DOM and AJAX. Apress, 2006, ISBN 1-59059-676-5.
  2. A. Moller and M. Schwartzbach, An Introduction to XML and Web Technologies. Addison Wesley, 2006, ISBN 0-321-26966-7.
  3. J. F. Kurose and K. W. Ross, Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach (7th edition), Pearson, 2016, ISBN 1-292-15359-8.
  4. K. R. Fall and W. R. Stevens, TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, Second Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2012, ISBN 0-321-33631-3.

Exam preparation

The revision session will be from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday 8th May in MAL B20. Please email me any questions/topics you would like me to go over.

The format of the exam paper will be as follows. There will be seven 20-mark questions from which you have to choose five to answer. Each 20-mark question contains sub-questions which can address any topic covered in the module. This is the same format as the last six years. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the questions were arranged in two sections, A and B, where Section A was on Networks and Section B was on Web Technologies.

Past exam papers are available for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. You should be aware that the syllabus changes slightly from year to year, so some past exam questions may no longer be relevant, while for some topics, there may be no past questions (for example, JSON was covered for the first time in 2016, while jQuery was covered for the first time in 2015). This year I covered a bit more about processing JSON in both Javascript and PHP. There were also some small additions to the material on the network layer (software-defined networking) and the link layer (data centre networks, load balancing, switch connections and UPnP).

Sample solutions are available for 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. I strongly recommend that you attempt past exam questions yourself first, before looking at the sample solutions.

A few XML revision problems are also available to help with exam preparation. We will go over these in the revision lecture.