The World Wide Web: the beginning and now

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Tim Berners-Lee & the Web

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, an English information technologist at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland proposed a new hypertext system. His proposal was in response to concerns about the handling of general information about accelerators and experiments at CERN. His proposal consisted of a flexible hypertext system based on a client/server architecture. This would allow content developers and content users using different kinds of computers and located in different geographical and/or departmental areas to share, publish, disseminate and utilize information in a collaborative, timely, and productive manner (Berners-Lee). All of this was possible by publishing the documents and works over the Internet - on what Berners-Lee and fellow employee Robert Cailliau would call The World Wide Web. The system allowed a user to jump among different documents located on different computers, through the use of hypertext. All of these ideas came from Berners-Lee's 1980 program titled "Enquire Within," which "allowed a user to store information using random associations" (Segaller, 285)

By the end of 1990, Tim Berners-Lee had written the first software for a World Wide Web server, and for the first "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) hypertext text client. The software was widely accepted throughout CERN, and in 1991, they published the source code for the software on the Internet.


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