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(Re)Discover the Birth of the « Web »

Rapid Overview | Birth of the « Web »

Ideas for the World Wide Web date back to as early as 1946 when William F. Jenkins (1896—1975) wrote A Logic Named Joe under the pen-name “Murray Leinster”. This short story described how computers (that he referred to as ‘Logics’) lived in every home, with each one having access to a central device where they could retrieve information.

From fiction to reality: “For many years, small groups of computers have been interconnected in various ways. (…) In 1968, after considerable preliminary investigation and discussion, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense (ARPA) embarked on the implementation of a new kind of nationwide computer interconnection known as the ARPA Network.” (….) More via: The interface message processor for the ARPA computer network by F. E. Heart, R. E. Kahn, S. M. Ornstein, W. R. Crowther, D. C. Walden.

See also: ARPA leading to ARPANET, and Interface Message Processor (IMP).


From the 1960s till the early 1990s ISO protocols and TCP/IP networking were being established as a (…) “solution to the lack of interoperability between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) data communications standards and the NATO standards based on the International Organization for Standardization concept for open systems interconnection is presented. The solution is based on conversion between a common subset of the US DoD Transmission Control Protocol and the ISO Class 4 Transport Protocol at the Transport layer, which is the first layer offering any end-to-end service.” Via: Conversion Between the TCP and ISO Transport Protocols as a Method of Achieving Interoperability Between Data Communications Systems by I. Groenbaek.


Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 in Geneva, Switzerland at the CERN as a means to use computers to connect ideas.

Tim had written the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s web:

Here is a screenshot of the first website:

Here is the HTML:

<HEADER>
<TITLE>The World Wide Web project</TITLE>
<NEXTID N=”55“>
</HEADER>
<BODY>
<H1>World Wide Web</H1>The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area<A
NAME=0 HREF=”WhatIs.html“>
hypermedia</A> information retrieval
initiative aiming to give universal
access to a large universe of documents.<P>
Everything there is online about
W3 is linked directly or indirectly
to this document, including an <A
NAME=24 HREF=”Summary.html“>executive
summary</A> of the project, <A
NAME=29 HREF=”Administration/Mailing/Overview.html“>Mailing lists</A>
, <A
NAME=30 HREF=”Policy.html“>Policy</A> , November’s <A
NAME=34 HREF=”News/9211.html“>W3 news</A> ,
<A
NAME=41 HREF=”FAQ/List.html“>Frequently Asked Questions</A> .
<DL>
<DT><A
NAME=44 HREF=”../DataSources/Top.html“>What’s out there?</A>
<DD> Pointers to the
world’s online information,<A
NAME=45 HREF=”../DataSources/bySubject/Overview.html“> subjects</A>
, <A
NAME=z54 HREF=”../DataSources/WWW/Servers.html“>W3 servers</A>, etc.
<DT><A
NAME=46 HREF=”Help.html“>Help</A>
<DD> on the browser you are using
<DT><A
NAME=13 HREF=”Status.html“>Software Products</A>
<DD> A list of W3 project
components and their current state.
(e.g. <A
NAME=27 HREF=”LineMode/Browser.html“>Line Mode</A> ,X11 <A
NAME=35 HREF=”Status.html#35“>Viola</A> , <A
NAME=26 HREF=”NeXT/WorldWideWeb.html“>NeXTStep</A>
, <A
NAME=25 HREF=”Daemon/Overview.html“>Servers</A> , <A
NAME=51 HREF=”Tools/Overview.html“>Tools</A> ,<A
NAME=53 HREF=”MailRobot/Overview.html“> Mail robot</A> ,<A
NAME=52 HREF=”Status.html#57“>
Library</A> )
<DT><A
NAME=47 HREF=”Technical.html“>Technical</A>
<DD> Details of protocols, formats,
program internals etc
<DT><A
NAME=40 HREF=”Bibliography.html“>Bibliography</A>
<DD> Paper documentation
on W3 and references.
<DT><A
NAME=14 HREF=”People.html“>People</A>
<DD> A list of some people involved
in the project.
<DT><A
NAME=15 HREF=”History.html“>History</A>
<DD> A summary of the history
of the project.
<DT><A
NAME=37 HREF=”Helping.html“>How can I help</A> ?
<DD> If you would like
to support the web..
<DT><A
NAME=48 HREF=”../README.html“>Getting code</A>
<DD> Getting the code by<A
NAME=49 HREF=”LineMode/Defaults/Distribution.html“>
anonymous FTP</A> , etc.</A>
</DL>
</BODY>

Source: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Make sure to see this rare, and amazing documentThe world-wide web by T.J. Berners-Lee, R. Cailliau. – This paper describes the World-Wide Web (W3) global information system initiative, its protocols and data formats, and how it is used in practice.

See: http://www.nzdl.org/gsdlmod?e=d-00000-00—off-0cstr–00-0—-0-10-0—0—0direct-10—4——-0-1l–11-en-50—20-about—00-0-1-00-0–4—-0-0-11-10-0utfZz-8-00&cl=CL1.132&d=HASH0102b83a0da4ae5fa2bcc7cc.1&gt=2


From the WWW Policy page:

(….) “The basic aim of the project is to promote communication and information availability for the High Energy Physics (HEP) community. The project is based at CERN, whose budget is provided by contributions of taxpayer’s money from the European member states. It is in the interests of HEP, CERN, and the project itself that it should interwork with systems and information in many other fields, and so active collaboration with other groups is essential. To produce an information system isolating HEP from the rest of the world would be counter-productive, so the aim can be seen as furthering a global web of information.

The WWW team are all enthusiastic that information of all types should be available as widely as possible.” (…) Read more at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/Policy.html

Related: World-Wide Web CERN-distributed code


See also: World-Wide Web BibliographyWWW People, Web Etiquette and WWW User guide


In 1993 a computer program called the Mosaic browser transformed the Internet from an academic tool to become more than just a document exchange tool. It was not the first browser, but it was the first to include icons, bookmarks and featured aimed at non-geek types; the dream of a networked world was nearing realization! Other systems of note include: Netscape (see “Before Netscape: the forgotten Web browsers of the early 1990s), electronic mail, mail lists, news groups, ftp (Index of /afs/cern.ch), Gopher (a distributed document search and retrieval protocol), Archie search as well as ever growing (early) online content.


See http://www.nzdl.org 



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