Celebrating 25 years of World Wide Web


Today, 23 August 2016, the world has an occasion to celebrate, as it’s 25 years since the world’s first website became freely available and could be visited by the open public – an event that dramatically changed the landscape of digital information and transformed the way communication and resource transfer are performed on the planet Earth!

Further back in 1989, Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee – an English computer scientist deeply engaged with CERN – made a proposal for a management system for information called World Wide Web (WWW) based on his earlier findings and projects considering hypertext as a tool for facilitation and sharing of data among scientists and researchers. At the time, the Internet had already evolved into a global system of interconnected computer networks that used Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to connect a large number of devices with each other worldwide. Furthermore, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe at that period and this played an important role for Sir Berners-Lee to develop his vision of the World Wide Web. After having drafted the WWW concept in 1989, in the end of the same year, he, using the technological base provided by CERN, did a successful implementation of HTTP communication between client and server.

Considering his WWW proposal, Sir Berners-Lee said that he…

“just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and—ta-da!—the World Wide Web!”

He had all technological requirements for the World Wide Web already developed and working – the hypertext and the Internet – he just needed to put them together.

World map of the Internet

World Wide Web users mapped as a percentage of a given country’s population (2012). Photo credit: www.wikipedia.org

So, developed by Sir Berners-Lee, the WWW project, or simply The Web, was born and info.cern.ch became the domain for accessing the world’s first-ever web site and web server running at CERN. The first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html which revealed information about the WWW project itself. This website went online on 6 August 1991. However, on the 23-rd of August 1991, the site got its first visitors and the WWW project made its way beyond the Atlantic, thus becoming part of the global Internet project and marking the begin of an era which would change the world. The Internet became publicly available!

Without Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who, by the way, also is the creator of the world’s first web browser, we would not even imagine any of the tools which we have at our disposal nowadays and take for granted – social media, online payment services, chats, web email services…just every little piece of information we make use of online. Without Berners-Lee’s idea of a freely-available World Wide Web, the Internet could have remained a draft project for data transfer between closed groups of people and could have never reached the open public, making us miss the vital influence which, thankfully, it managed to bring us. So, a big thank to you, Sir Berners-Lee, for making our world open and connected! You definitely deserve your place in the chart of the 100 most important people of the 20-th century. And happy birthday, WWW!

Alex

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