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1989: The World Wide Web Is Proposed

March 18, 2018

It’s difficult to imagine life without the Internet. This incredibly important and powerful tool revolutionized nearly all aspects of human life, changing how we communicate, socialize, find love, become educated, find information, and consume entertainment.


The Internet began as this niche tool used among connected computers, but it wasn’t until the World Wide Web was introduced that its use would make the Internet more life what it is today—a complementary entity that turns mere network connections into an online world full of information (and memes). It is unlikely that the British scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, would have an idea of how revolutionary the World Wide Web would be when he proposed it in March 1989.



The inspiration for the proposal came when Berners-Lee began working at CERN as a software engineer and wanted to come up with a solution that would make sharing information easier with scientists involved from all over the world. At the time, computers had to be accessed directly and often came with individual technical challenges like requiring knowledge of different computer languages. If you couldn't accomplish this on your own, you would need to find someone who could access that data for you, which was a mite harder before the internet because you had to physically find them.


Berners-Lee wrote a proposal called “Information Management: A Proposal”, in which he describes a system using an upcoming technology called hypertext. He described the Hyper-Text Mark-up Language (HTML) to format text and elements on the World Wide Web, a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) which is now more commonly known as a URL to uniquely identify pages on the World Wide Web, and the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which manages the retrieval process for elements on the World Wide Web.


As with so many great ideas, the proposal was not taken seriously by his superiors, but Berners-Lee still was given opportunities to work on it. The first browser, web server, and web page became accessible in 1991 and he began inviting scientists to use it, then began making it accessible to individuals outside of CERN. He urged CERN to make the World Wide Web royalty-free so that it can be continued to be developed and used outside of the organization. And the rest is history.


Today, Berners-Lee is the founder and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which continues to develop the WWW standards.

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