Today 6:30 AM
The World Wide Web was born on this day in 1991.
From history.com, “British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee published the first-ever website while working at CERN, a particle physics lab in Switzerland.”
According to history.com, Berners-Lee observed how difficult it was to keep track of the lab’s projects and computer systems because researchers were “spread around the globe.”
Information could not be shared between computers and sometimes each computer used a different program.
“In March 1989, Berners-Lee gave managers at CERN a proposal for an information management system that used hypertext to link documents on different computers that were connected to the Internet. (Hypertext, a term coined in 1963, allows a person to get a document or piece of content by clicking on a coded word or phrase.) Labelled “vague but exciting” by his boss, the proposal at first wasn’t accepted. Berners-Lee teamed up with Robert Cailliau, a Belgian engineer at CERN, to refine the proposal, and in 1990 the Englishman’s boss gave him time to work on the project. After originally calling the project Information Management, Berners-Lee tried out names such as Mine of Information and Information Mesh before settling on WorldWideWeb.
By the end of 1990, Berners-Lee, using a Steve Jobs-designed NeXT computer, had developed the key technologies that are the bedrock of the Web, including Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), for creating Web pages; Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), a set of rules for transferring data across the Web; and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), or Web addresses for finding a document or page. He also had devised a basic browser and Web server software.”
Berners-Lee’s first website was about the project – describing it and how to use it.
While CERN wanted to patent the invention, Berners-Lee did not.
“He wanted the Web to be open and free so it could expand and evolve as rapidly as possible. As he later said, ‘Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.’
“In 1993, a team at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications released Mosaic, the first Web browser to become popular with the general public. The next few years saw the launch of such websites as Yahoo (1994), Amazon (1995), eBay (1995) and Google (1998). By the time Facebook debuted in 2004, there were more than 51 million websites, according to Internet Live Stats.”
In 1994, Berners-Lee went to work for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he founded the World Wide Web Consortium, an organization that maintains standards for the Web.
He was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and in 2004 was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2009, Berners-Lee started the World Wide Web Foundation, an organization focused on ensuring the Web benefits humanity.