Happy 30th Birthday to the World Wide Web
What should a good boss do when one of your software engineers has an idea that you describe as “vague, but exciting”? The answer when you work for CERN, is to commission a computer system that CERN doesn’t possess in order to disguise the project and that’s what happened to Tim Berners-Lee in his early 30s and so on the 12 of March 1989 he wrote his proposal for the World Wide Web. That makes today the World Wide Web’s 30th Birthday.
Without the work of Tim Berners-Lee, none of the ecommerce sites and marketplaces we trade on would exist. The World Wide Web literally revolutionised the world and although you can access correctly configured websites without typing http://www at the beginning, it’s still what powers the Internet today.
It’s worth mentioning in passing that Tim Berners-Lee is often credited with inventing the Internet, but that already existed when he say down to write “Information Management: A Proposal” which is where the HTTPs and WWWs came in. The Internet is the underlying infrastructure for transmitting data but the World Wide Web is the interconnection and addressing system that allows us to search and access documents on any Internet connected device in the world. Prior to the World Wide Web, there was information stored on different computers and you’d have to log onto whichever device had the data you wanted – now you just pull up your browser and can pull up millions of websites just by typing in their address.
If you’re wondering what it was like to use the World Wide Web back in 1989… well you couldn’t quite yet! The first web pages didn’t go live until August 1991 although the first browser was developed in 1990. You can check out what eBay would have looked like back then as to celebrate the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web, CERN have recreated the first browser experience.
- Open the CERN browser at https://worldwideweb.cern.ch/browser/
- Select “Document” from the menu on the side
- Select “Open from full document reference”
- Type a URL (e.g. www.ebay.co.uk) into the “reference” field
- Click “Open”
- To Navigate double click any link
- Prepare to be annoyed with no images and every link opening up in a new window
Looks like some of the eBay pages we see today.