Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The World Wide Web is (only) 20 years old

We seem to be continually blind-sided by new technologies so that we often find ourselves wishing that the pace of technological advancement would slow down to allow society to catch up. We are often afraid that technology is growing faster than our ability to safely manage it.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is such a huge part of global culture today that it is difficult to believe that 20 years ago it didn't even exist. Twenty years ago this March 2009, a software consultant named Tim Berners-Lee (now only 53) developed an open computer network which would become the blueprint for the World Wide Web and forever change the world of human communication.

The three main innovations were HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol); URLs (universal resource locators); and HTML (hypertext markup language). HTTP allows you to click on a link and be brought to that document or Web page. URLs serve as an address for finding that document or page. And HTML gives you the ability to put links in documents and pages so they connect. Tim Berners-Lee created all three of these pieces of software code from October to December of 1990.

Click on the heading above to see Berners-Lee talk about what he has in mind next.

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