Saturday, August 06, 2016

August 6, 1991 :: Sir Tim Berners Lee Releases the World Wide Web

The Internet had been created back in the 1960s to foster sharing amongst academic institutions doing cool things at the edge of the network.  It was designed to share information, research, and computer resources.


Sir Tim Berners Lee
It was doing a sucky job of it.  Well, I mean, not really.  The Internet was an explosive success in the academic community.  But sharing information generally meant accessing it by FTP or searching for stuff with search engines named Archie and Veronica. 

Tim Berners Lee had a better mouse trap.  Using hyperlinking and a user interface, he would create a simple application that would present information and link to any other information that happened to be relevant. 
The system had to have one other fundamental property: It had to be completely decentralized. That would be the only way a new person somewhere could start to use it without asking for access from anyone else. And that would be the only way the system could scale, so that as more people used it, it wouldn't get bogged down. This was good Internet-style engineering, but most systems still depended on some central node to which everything had to be connected - and whose capacity eventually limited the growth of the system as a whole. I wanted the act of adding a new link to be trivial; if it was, then a web of links could spread evenly across the globe.
Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web, p15-16 (Harper Business 2000)

On August 6th, 1991, in an online chat room, Tim Berners Lee announced the release of the World Wide Web application and linked to the First web page at Info.cern.ch
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