“[t]he web (originally called the World Wide Web, thus the ‘www’ in site addresses) is…one of the ways information can be shared over the Internet. It is unique in that it allows documents to be linked to one another using hypertext links–thus forming a huge ‘web’ of connected information.”
While Tim Berners-Lee is credited with the invention of the World Wide Web, there were many inventions and discoveries before him that led up to and helped with his invention. In 1945, an article published in Atlantic Monthly by Vannevar Bush described a device called a “Memex,” used for memory extension and made it possible for links to be created between documents. During the 1960s, hypertext technology is developed. Doug Engelbart created NLS, which allowed hypertext browsing editing and email. The term “HyperText” is also coined during this time by Ted Nelson in A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate. In 1967, Andy van Dam and colleagues built the HyperText Editing System and FRESS (File Retrieval and Editing System).
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, an employee at CERN, invented the World Wide Web, 20 years after the Internet was established. The three technologies that he based the structure of the Web on included HTML (HyperText Markup Language), URI (Uniform Resource Indentifier) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). HTML, according to the World Wide Web Foundation, is “[t]he publishing format for the Web, including the ability to format documents and link to other documents and resources.” Similarly, URI is “[a] kind of ‘address’ that is unique to each resource on the Web.” HTTP, which is a protocol of HTML, “[a]llows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the Web.”
In 1993, the World Wide Web technology became available for anyone to use for free. In the following year, in order to help streamline how the Web is used, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a set of standards that are used as guides to ensure one universal Web that is easy and free for everyone to use. Several years later, in 2005, Berners-Lee and colleagues founded the Web Science Trust (WST). This organization is focused on studying the web and understanding how this technology connects and unites humanity, in order to create the best Web possible in the future.
The World Wide Web is an amazing technology. The fact that so many people in so many parts of the world can be connected through the Web has done so much in terms of communication and uniting the world through a common channel. Without this technology, many cultures would likely still be isolated, and would never have had the opportunity to take inspiration from or be influenced by others. People may have felt much more alone in the world, and more limited to what was only physically available to them. Many jobs and careers wouldn’t exist today without the Web. You wouldn’t be reading my posts on this blog without the Web!
And now, as promised, here’s my link to a cool art/design-related site: an infographic about the evolution of the Web. Enjoy!