Happy 25th! Happy 50th!Posted: May 14, 2014
The World Wide Web has been around for 50% of my years. Yes, happy 50th birthday to me as the Web turns 25. How crazy is that thought?
Let me digress and explain the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. In 1969, ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) was launched to facilitate communications between military installations. The infrastructure consisted of mainframe computers at major universities around the country and included both the hardware and software components. This “network of networks” is the Internet.
In a separate initiative, British scientist Tim Berners-Lee wanted a system to connect scientists at universities and institutes throughout the world. He developed a method for transmitting data across the Internet via browsing and hypertext links between nodes of information. Thus, the World Wide Web was launched in 1989 with the first website at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). It later became available to the public in 1993.
Berners-Lee’s original proposal is a fascinating read. His describes his initial goal as looking for a future-proof system that is: “portable, or supported on many platforms” and “extendible to new data formats.” To say that he met this goal would be a gross understatement. He also says, “I imagine that two people for 6 to 12 months would be sufficient for this phase of the project.” That calls to mind the Margaret Mitchell quote, “”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Happy birthday, World Wide Web. Here’s to many more.