The World Wide Web (not the Internet) is celebrating its 25th birthday. Back on March 12, 1989, nobody would have thought that the world would or could change so dramatically. In fact, the World Wide Web was born as a plan to organize scientific information written in a Swiss office. And this plan, written by a computer programmer at CERN, has grown to become one of the greatest inventions of human history. But who is that programmer? Sir Tim Berners-Lee (image below).
How Sir Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web
In 1989, the Internet had been up and running. It was a system connecting computer networks, where data could be transferred between connected machines irrespective of their location. But there was no effective way to make this huge volume of data available to a broader audience. At the time, Tim Berners-Lee was worried about the loss of data from scientific experiments. He saw CERN researchers having to repeat experiments due to loss of data. Sir Berners-Lee concluded that what the research center needed was a way to make information easy to find.
In March 1989, he came up with a plan titled Information Management: A Proposal. He said the information loss issue that CERN was facing was a problem that would grapple the rest of the world in the next few years. He proposed a universal linked information system. That humble plan was the foundation of the World Wide Web, the same web that brings this article to you. He had proposed a way to create links between documents, and contextual pathways that could be followed to browse through the heaps of data to find exactly what you are looking for.
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Sir Berners-Lee’s proposal seemed to solve CERN’s problem of data loss. His boss Mike Sendall gave a go-ahead to the plan. Berners-Lee started from scratch to build the entire infrastructure. He first wrote HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), outlining how information would be transferred between computers. He wrote HyperText Markup Language (HTML) to develop web pages. That’s not all. He developed the first web browser “WorldWideWeb” and the first web server software.
World Wide Web was made available to public in 1993
Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first ever web page, which explained his work on the project and how others could create a new website. It was hosted on his own NeXT computer and had a label “This Machine is a Server.” Bernd Pollermann, another CERN employee, uploaded the research center’s internal phone directory as a website. Soon, scientists began to share results, experiment details, and technical facts and figures.
In 1993, CERN announced that anyone was free to use the technology behind the World Wide Web. That gave it a big boost. Later that year, the Mosaic browser was unveiled. Originally it was written for Unix, but soon there were Macintosh, Windows and Amiga versions as well. And the rest is history!