The World Wide Web
People that revolutionised the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee

Berners-Lee created the world wide web in 1989, his work has allowed billions of us to connect to anyone all over the globe in a matter of seconds. Instead of using mail and phone to communicate, we're able to communicate in a variety of ways, whether it's social media to a plain email. It allows us to communicate with whoever we choose, and whenever. It now allows us to stay connected to our friends and family like never before. However, our over-dependance on technology also leads us to health problems such as obesity, anxiety, depression and repetitive muscle strain, but, how did it get started?

Communication

a steam train
Steam trains allow faster transport for people and mail. Kevin Frost "Earl of Mount Edgecumbe" on Flickr.

We've always been trying to communicate more efficiently ever since we revolutionised railways using steam powered train engines. This not only meant people could travel long distances in a shorter time, but that long distance communication was possible by mail and also allowed businesses to import and sell over a variety of places giving them an even greater profit.

The trains however, were still slow. Messages and packages would still take time to get to the recipients.


a man making smoke signals with a cloth over a fire
Smoke signals can be used to send a message. Patrik Theander "Get the message!" on Flickr.
a light signal tower
Light signals can be used to send a message. Chappe Semaphore on Wikipedia Commons.

Comparing to life at CERN

Tim at the europaeum in 2001
Stock image of Tim Berners-Lee from w3.org

At the time, APRANET and Email were mostly the only way of communicating between two people on a computer. A phone is another real time type of communication but would be impractical for sharing research between people at CERN. Berners-Lee [1] realised the discrepancies within the current way we share information and decided to make a hypter-text based system so that researchers would be able to look at various documents all in one place and unify the user environment. Pages would also be linked using anchors (or also called; hyper-text). Anchors can then allow pages to link together other pages whilst on a viewing client such as a web browser. This would be like viewing one word document and being able to go to another without using a file manager to find another document related to it. We also needed a better name when we make a website so that it's rememberable and enables people to find a website with a name rather than a specific IP Address.

How was the web created?

The world wide web was proposed at CERN in 1989 and then tested after a first version was made in 1990 and released in 1991 to the general public. Most of the services needed to create the world wide web were already around such as the TCP/IP and DNS protocols along with hyper-text. Making the world wide web was as simple as stringing together multiple services into one usable service called a HTTP server [2]. The servers HTTP daemon then listens out for clients. The clients will then offer requests that the server will be able to understand and provide output. Nowadays, we have a few popular requests when implementing a server-side scripted website with PHP such as GET and POST when being used in forms [3].


Life after the web

Now that the main content can be provided, the only thing that would need to be changed is how we read the information given to us that are viewed in software we know as browsers. Berners-Lee created the WorldWideWeb browser that was renamed to Nexus because it baffled users against the name The World Wide Web that he only just created. Browsers as we now them, would then be starting to get developed such as Opera, Internet Explorer and NetScape. Not only that but then Javascript and CSS would start to exist creating the basics for the websites we use today.

For more history on the evolution on the web, check this link

References

Note: All images that are referenced, have been referenced under the image. Otherwise no reference must mean that I have personally provided the image as my own work.

[1] Berners-Lee T, [no date] Longer Biography [Online]. Available at: http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Longer.html [Accessed: 19 November 2014]

[2] Berners-Lee T, [no date] Answers for Young People [Online]. Available at: http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Kids.html [Accessed: 19 November 2014].

[3] Nancy J. Yeager, 1996. Web Server Technology. 1 Edition. Morgan Kaufmann.