Tuesday, Aug. 23, is a historic day for the World Wide Web as it reaches a milestone — its 25th birthday!
That's right! In 1991, on this very day, people were able to use the World Wide Web for the very first time. Aug. 23 is also known as Internaut Day and we can give credit to computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee who made this technological feat possible, turning us into internauts with this remarkable invention!
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British researcher who worked with the CERN in Switzerland, is the one who designed the World Wide Web.
In 1980, the computer scientist developed a personal database of people and software models while working at CERN. It was during this time that Berners-Lee delved into the uses of hypertext. Hypertext basically allowed each page to link to another existing page.
During the next decade, the researcher continued to develop hypertexts further. It was in 1989 when Berners-Lee proposed to the world the notion of "a universal linked information system." This linked information system would help physicists work together as well as combine the internet with hypertext.
A year later, Berners-Lee created what we commonly know as the HTTP or the HyperText Transfer Protocol. He also developed HTML or HyperText Markup Language, the URI or Uniform Resource Identifier, the first-ever browser and server for the web, and the first-ever web pages.
The magnanimity of these developments may be lost now as we easily sift through a sea of web pages on Google Search. However, when the first web page went live in 1991 on Aug. 6, it was notably a technological achievement.
For those curious, the first-ever web page is still in existence and can be found at the original URL. At the time of official launch, the short page — which explains what the World Wide Web is — was only accessible to those at CERN.
It was only two weeks later on Aug. 23 when the World Wide Web was made available to users outside the CERN as they were invited to join. More than a year later in April 1993, CERN declared its decision of making the underlying code for the World Wide Web royalty free, in perpetuity.
What if Berners-Lee had never shared the technology with the world and kept it in his control?
"Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. The decision to make the web an open system was necessary for it to be universal. You can't propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it," acknowledges the Queen's College, Oxford alumnus.
While many aspects of his "original dream" have not been implemented, the scientist is pleased with how things have panned out throughout these years.