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World Wide Web

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The World Wide Web (aka The Web, Web, The Internet or Internet) is a world wide network that lets people communicate to others in different places in the world very easily.

HistoryEdit

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at World Wide Web. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with CompuWiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


The underlying ideas of the Web can be traced as far back as 1980, when, at CERN in Switzerland, Sir Tim Berners-Lee built ENQUIRE (a reference to Enquire Within Upon Everything, a book he recalled from his youth). While it was rather different from the system in use today, it contained many of the same core ideas (and even some of the ideas of Berners-Lee's next project after the World Wide Web, the Semantic Web).

In March 1989, Berners-Lee wrote a proposal[1] which referenced ENQUIRE and described a more elaborate information management system. With help from Robert Cailliau, he published a more formal proposal (on November 12, 1990) to build a "Hypertext project" called "WorldWideWeb" (one word, also "W3")[2] as a "web of nodes" with "hypertext documents" to store data. That data would be viewed in "hypertext pages" (webpages) by various "browsers" (line-mode or full-screen) on the computer network, using an "access protocol" connecting the "Internet and DECnet protocol worlds".[2]

The proposal had been modeled after EBT's (Electronic Book Technology, a spin-off from the Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship at Brown University) Dynatext SGML reader that CERN had licensed. The Dynatext system, although technically advanced (a key player in the extension of SGML ISO 8879:1986 to Hypermedia within HyTime), was considered too expensive and with an inappropriate licensing policy for general HEP (High Energy Physics) community use: a fee for each document and each time a document was changed.

A NeXT Computer was used by Berners-Lee as the world's first Web server and also to write the first Web browser, WorldWideWeb, in 1990. By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web:[3] the first Web browser (which was a Web editor as well), the first Web server, and the first Web pages[4] which described the project itself.

On August 6, 1991, he posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.[5] This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet.

The first server outside Europe was set up at SLAC in December 1991.[6]

The crucial underlying concept of hypertext originated with older projects from the 1960s, such as the Hypertext Editing System (HES) at Brown University--- among others Ted Nelson and Andries van Dam--- Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu and Douglas Engelbart's oN-Line System (NLS). Both Nelson and Engelbart were in turn inspired by Vannevar Bush's microfilm-based "memex," which was described in the 1945 essay "As We May Think".

Berners-Lee's breakthrough was to marry hypertext to the Internet. In his book Weaving The Web, he explains that he had repeatedly suggested that a marriage between the two technologies was possible to members of both technical communities, but when no one took up his invitation, he finally tackled the project himself. In the process, he developed a system of globally unique identifiers for resources on the Web and elsewhere: the Uniform Resource Identifier.

The World Wide Web had a number of differences from other hypertext systems that were then available. The Web required only unidirectional links rather than bidirectional ones. This made it possible for someone to link to another resource without action by the owner of that resource. It also significantly reduced the difficulty of implementing Web servers and browsers (in comparison to earlier systems), but in turn presented the chronic problem of link rot. Unlike predecessors such as HyperCard, the World Wide Web was non-proprietary, making it possible to develop servers and clients independently and to add extensions without licensing restrictions.

On April 30, 1993, CERN announced[7] that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone, with no fees due. Coming two months after the announcement that the Gopher (protocol) protocol was no longer free to use, this produced a rapid shift away from Gopher and towards the Web. An early popular Web browser was ViolaWWW, which was based upon HyperCard.

Scholars generally agree that a turning point for the World Wide Web began with the introduction[8] of the Mosaic Web browser[9] in 1993, a graphical browser developed by a team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (NCSA-UIUC), led by Marc Andreessen. Funding for Mosaic came from the U.S. High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, a funding program initiated by the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, one of several computing developments initiated by U.S. Senator Al Gore.[10] Prior to the release of Mosaic, graphics were not commonly mixed with text in Web pages, and its popularity was less than older protocols in use over the Internet, such as Gopher and Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS). Mosaic's graphical user interface allowed the Web to become, by far, the most popular Internet protocol.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded by Tim Berners-Lee after he left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in October, 1994. It was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—which had pioneered the Internet—and the European Commission.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Information Management: A Proposal
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named W90
  3. Tim Berners-Lee: WorldWideWeb, the first Web client
  4. First Web pages
  5. Short summary of the World Wide Web project
  6. The Early World Wide Web at SLAC: Early Chronology and Documents
  7. Ten Years Public Domain for the Original Web Software
  8. Mosaic Web Browser History - NCSA, Marc Andreessen, Eric Bina
  9. NCSA Mosaic - September 10, 1993 Demo
  10. Vice President Al Gore's ENIAC Anniversary Speech

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