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The World Wide Web Turns 30, Here’s How It Has Evolved Over The Years

The World Wide Web Turns 30, Here’s How It Has Evolved Over The Years
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The World Wide Web Turns 30, Here’s How It Has Evolved Over The Years

Sir Tim Berners-Lee conceptualised the World Wide Web while working at CERN, Switzerland.

On 12 March 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee came up with a concept that would change the way the world shared information. As the World Wide Web turns 30, let’s take a look at how his path-breaking work brought about a revolution.

From Concept To Reality, As World Wide Web Turns 30

A British scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN, a leading nuclear physics laboratory in Switzerland, when he came up with an idea. He drafted and submitted the “Information Management: A Proposal” to his boss, Mike Sendall.

The proposal centred around the management of general information about accelerators and experiments at CERN. “Vague, but exciting…” were the words that Sendall wrote on the proposal, which can be seen on the CERN website.

Berners-Lee wanted to address the problem of “loss of information” about complex evolving systems and derive a solution based on “a distributed hypertext system”.

Simply put, loads of information was available on CERN’s computers. But scientists had to log on to different computers to get access to different kinds of information.

Sir Tim felt that information stored in these computers, and also in millions of other computers across the world, could be shared by using the technology of hypertext.

(Read Google’s Latest, A Bolo App To Improve Learning Skills of Children)

World Wide Web Turns 30: An Amazing Success Story

The proposal, incidentally, was a simple flowchart which also highlighted several “keywords”, something that would soon become integral to content on the Internet.

His boss eventually backed the concept and he came up with a working model.

In an article, the World Wide Web Foundation (founded by him in 2009) noted that by October 1990, Sir Tim had written the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s web.

  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The markup (formatting) language for the web.
  • URI: Uniform Resource Identifier. A kind of “address” that is unique and used to identify to each resource on the web. It is also commonly called a URL.
  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the web.

He also wrote the the first web page editor/browser (“WorldWideWeb.app”) and the first web server (“httpd“). By the end of 1990, the first web page was served on the open internet, and in 1991, people outside of CERN were invited to join this new web community.

Some Words Of Caution As The World Wide Web Turns 30

As the World Wide Web turns 30, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has made some significant observations.

“It’s a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go.

The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank, and so much more,” he wrote on webfoundation website.

He referred to news reports of how the web is misused and spoke about many people being “afraid and unsure” if the web was really a force for good.

“But given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30. If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web,” he pointed out.

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