Celebrating 20 years of the Web

“…at the end of 1990, a revolution took place that changed the way we live today.”

Even though there is no virtual yardstick to measure advances made within the World Wide Web, there is no doubt it has come a long way.

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In 1990, a physicist, Tim Berners-Lee finalized a proposal to build a “Hypertext project”  as a “Web” of “hypertext documents” to be viewed by “browsers”. Or, in other words, a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Originally it was created to allow physicists to track each other’s progress. The idea was that people working in different places could learn what each other was doing by looking at a hypertextual document set up on a computer that could be accessed through the Internet.

What would this new browser be called? The Mine of Information and The Information Mesh were two names considered. When they settled on a name in May 1990, it was the World Wide Web. Can you imagine using the alternative, “Just surfin’ the Mesh”?

A NeXT Computer, used by Berners-Lee, was the world’s first web server and also used to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb. http://info.cern.ch/, was the address of the world’s first-ever website and web server, and running on a NeXT computer. Though the site has been altered a bit to keep in step with today’s protocol, its juvenile essence remains. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a site published at the dawn of this era; single page, no border control, float image right, and then float image left, well you get the idea.

It definitely served its purpose as an information exchange. But do you think the creators of this revolution could have foreseen the endless role the Web plays in our lives today?

Fast-forward 20 years, into today’s world, and you have to agree that the World Wide Web has truly changed the way we live. From the way we travel, design our dream kitchen, recreate, or even meet new friends; the Web has seeped into most aspects of our lives and held on. Most of us could not imagine our lives without it. Don’t deny it, I bet you just checked your Facebook page.

The current era of the Web is commonly referred to as Web 2.0.  Features of this matured phase of the Web are applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, social networking, online media (music, video, etc), user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web.

According to a Netcraft Web Server Survey, nowadays there are upwards of 100 million websites, with more and more computers connected to the Internet and surfing the Web. If households nowadays want a computer, it is not to compute, but to go on the Web.

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-Lindsay Lush

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