It Wasn’t Gore
March 12, 1989: First Proposal For World Wide Web
In the May 1970 issue of Popular Science magazine, Arthur C. Clarke predicted that satellites would someday “bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to your fingertips” using a console that would combine the functionality of the photocopier, telephone, television and a small computer, allowing data transfer and video conferencing around the globe.
Tim Berners-Lee (pictured above) submits a proposal to CERN for developing a new way of linking and sharing information over the Internet. It was the first time Berners-Lee proposed a system that would ultimately become the World Wide Web.
However, this proposal was a relatively vague request to research the details and feasibility of such a system. He would later submit a proposal on November 12, 1990 that much more directly detail the actual implementation of the World Wide Web. So while some people consider today the birthday of the World Wide Web, others put forth November 12, 1990 as a more accurate date.
In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet: “I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and domain name system ideas and – ta-da! – the World Wide Web.”
“Creating the web was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult when I was working at CERN later. Most of the technology involved in the web, like the hypertext, like the Internet, multifont text objects, had all been designed already. I just had to put them together. It was a step of generalizing, going to a higher level of abstraction, thinking about all the documentation systems out there as being possibly part of a larger imaginary documentation system.”
Info.cern.ch was the address of the world’s first-ever web site and web server, running on a NeXT computer at CERN. The first web page address was:
Visitors could learn more about hypertext, technical details for creating their own webpage, and even an explanation on how to search the Web for information.
What’s the diff?
The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used in everyday speech without much distinction. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. In contrast, the Web is one of the services that runs on the Internet. It is a collection of text documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs, usually accessed by web browsers from web servers. In short, the Web can be thought of as an application “running” on the Internet.
Viewing a web page on the World Wide Web normally begins either by typing the URL of the page into a web browser or by following a hyperlink to that page or resource. The web browser then initiates a series of communication messages, behind the scenes, in order to fetch and display it. As an example, consider accessing a page with the URL
First, the browser resolves the server-name portion of the URL (example.org) into an Internet Protocol address using the globally distributed database known as the Domain Name System (DNS); this lookup returns an IP address such as 126.96.36.199. The browser then requests the resource by sending an HTTP request across the Internet to the computer at that particular address. It makes the request to a particular application port in the underlying Internet Protocol Suite so that the computer receiving the request can distinguish an HTTP request from other network protocols it may be servicing such as e-mail delivery; the HTTP protocol normally uses port 80. The content of the HTTP request can be as simple asthe two lines of text.
Tim Berners-Lee’s TED Talk on “The Next Web” http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web