web services

files and programs on other people's computers.

I remember reading that "the cloud is just someone else's computer" and not really getting it for a long time. Like, I vaguely understood that there existed giant warehouses of server rooms with walls of racks containing lots of fans and lights and probably some computer parts. I didn't understand how things got from my computer to these warehouse servers and back, just that it somehow happened.

I want to reference the classic interview question and the amazing community effort at putting together a thorough response: https://github.com/alex/what-happens-when

When I started reading through that repo however many years ago, I quickly got super frustrated trying to parse all this terminology and all these concepts. I'm not the kind of person who can just sit down and read technical things straight through and remember them. (I used doubt it was even possible, until I met a few people who could do so. Literally, wizards.) When I'm learning, I need to interact with the system in context and question it like, why does this even exist? what problem is it trying to solve?

So that's how I want to approach thinking about web services. For each piece of the system, what's even the point? Maybe I can demystify things for someone who's stuck like I was.