Origins of the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web (WWW), often abbreviated as the Web, is an integral part of our daily lives. It’s hard to imagine a world without it, where we can’t connect with people from around the world, learn new things, and even do our shopping from the comfort of our own homes. It feels like it’s always been there but it’s only 40 years old! Have you ever wondered how it all started?

One day at CERN

The origins of the World Wide Web can be traced back to the late 1980s when a British computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. At the time, CERN was one of the largest and most important scientific research centres in the world, with scientists from all over the world working together on groundbreaking experiments.

Berners-Lee was frustrated with the way that scientific information was shared at CERN. Scientists from different countries and disciplines had a hard time communicating with one another, and important research findings were often lost or buried in obscure journals.

So Berners-Lee came up with an idea for a new way to share information. He envisioned a system where scientists could easily access and share information from anywhere worldwide, using a simple, intuitive interface.

A new language

Berners-Lee developed a new technology called HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, to make this vision a reality. HTML allowed scientists to create documents that could be easily linked together so that users could click on a link in one document and be taken to another related document.

Berners-Lee also developed a system for organizing and managing these documents, called a web browser. The first web browser, called WorldWideWeb, was created in 1990 and allowed users to access and view web pages.

In addition to HTML and web browsers, Berners-Lee also created the first web server, which allowed users to access and download web pages from remote locations. This allowed the World Wide Web to expand beyond the walls of CERN and become a truly global phenomenon.

Over the next few years, the World Wide Web multiplied, as more and more people discovered the power and potential of this new technology. In 1993, the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, was released, making the Web even more accessible and user-friendly.

After this, the World Wide Web and what we can do with it exploded; from online shopping and social media to Discord and ChatGPT. Imagine how it will look in another 40 years.