When the web was first proposed, URLs were addresses of documents to be returned to the user. In most cases, they were HTML documents. Requests were handled by web servers that simply retrieved the given document and returned it to the user.
In short order, web servers morphed into more complex software that were capable not just of locating the requested document and returning it, but also of interpreting variable data in the URL request and assembling a dynamic HTML document to be returned to the user. Sometimes, these were called application servers, although that term is used less frequently today. As the web evolved, the format of URLs evolved and in their evolving complexity, URLs became divided into two categories: clean URLs and dirty URLs.
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