On August 6, 1991 (30 years ago) British scientist Tim Berners-Lee published the first website, an event that drastically changed the way communication and information is shared and to which we owe the fact that you are here on the blog.
Along with e-mail, video conferencing, and peer-to-peer file sharing, the Web is one of the most important applications on the Internet. It is perhaps the most powerful to the point where the term Internet is often used to refer to the web.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 while working at CERN. The Web was originally designed and developed to meet the demand for automated information exchange among scientists at universities and institutes around the world.
CERN is not an isolated laboratory, but the focal point of a large community that includes more than 17.000 scientists from more than 100 countries. Although they typically spend time on the CERN site, scientists often work in universities and national laboratories in their home countries.
The basic idea from the WWW was to merge the evolving technologies of computers, data networks and hypertext into a powerful and easy-to-use global information system.
Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first proposal for the World Wide Web in March 1989 and his second proposal in May 1990. In collaboration with Belgian systems engineer Robert Cailliau, this proposal was formalized in November 1990. He outlined the main concepts and defined the important terms behind the Web.
The document described a "hypertext project" called "WorldWideWeb" in which "browsers" could view a "web" of "hypertext documents."
In the late 1990s, Tim Berners-Lee demonstrated his ideas with the first operational web browser and server at CERN, info.cern.ch was the address of the world's first website and web server, running on a NeXT computer at CERN.
The first web page address was "Http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject", this page contained links to information about the WWW project itself, including a description of the hypertext, technical details for creating a web server, and links to other web servers as they become available. This first page was published on August 6, 1991, so this date is sometimes confused with the public availability of the first web servers, even though this had happened months before.
Of the most important dates of this event are the following:
- August 1991: Tim Berners-Lee announces the availability of the WWW on the Internet in Internet newsgroups and his interest in the project extends beyond the physicist community. The first announcement was made on August 6, 1991 on alt.hypertext, a discussion group for hypertext enthusiasts.
- December 1991: the first web server outside Europe at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California and where access was provided to SPIERS, a database containing information for scientists working at HEP (High Energy Physics), including the ability to search for publications.
- January 1992: la CERN WWW went from being a first prototype to being a useful and reliable service. Thanks to the CERN Informatics Bulletin, thousands of scientists have learned to use the web to access a wealth of useful information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, newsgroups, as well as computer software and documentation.
- January 1993: the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) from the University of Illinois provided preview versions of its Mosaic browser for the X Window System.
- April 1993: el CERN issued a statement putting the Web in the public domain, guaranteeing that it would act as an open standard. This announcement had an immediate effect on the spread of the web. Other licensing actions were taken to allow the web to evolve and flourish. At the end of 1993, there were more than 500 known web servers and the WWW accounted for 1% of Internet traffic.
- May 1994: Robert Cailliau organized lXNUMXst international conference of the World Wide Web at CERN. It brought together 380 users and developers and was hailed as the "Woodstock of the Web."
- October 1994: Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), in the computer lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with CERN and with the support of DARPA and the European Commission. Sir Berners-Lee joined MIT, from where he remains Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).