Tim Berners-Lee

English-American computer scientist and engineer, Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS was born 8 June 1955 in London, England, one of four children born to Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee. His parents worked on the first commercially-built computer, the Ferranti Mark 1. He attended Sheen Mount Primary School, and then went on to attend south west London’s Emanuel School from 1969 to 1973, at the time a direct grant grammar school, which became an independent school in 1975. A keen trainspotter as a child, he learnt about electronics from tinkering with a model railway. He studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford from 1973 to 1976, where he received a first-class degree bachelor of arts degree in physics.

After graduation, Berners-Lee worked as an engineer at the telecommunications company Plessey in Poole, Dorset. In 1978, he joined D. G. Nash in Ferndown, Dorset, where he helped create type-setting software for printers. Berners-Lee worked as an independent contractor at CERN from June to December 1980. While in Geneva, he proposed a project based on the concept of hypertext, to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. To demonstrate it, he built a prototype system named ENQUIRE. After leaving CERN in late 1980, he went to work at John Poole’s Image Computer Systems, Ltd, in Bournemouth, Dorset. He ran the company’s technical side for three years. The project he worked on was a “real-time remote procedure call” which gave him experience in computer networking. In 1984, he returned to CERN as a fellow.In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet:

“I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and—ta-da!—the World Wide Web.mCreating the web was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult when I was working at CERN later. Most of the technology involved in the web, like the hypertext, like the Internet, multifont text objects, had all been designed already. I just had to put them together. It was a step of generalising, going to a higher level of abstraction, thinking about all the documentation systems out there as being possibly part of a larger imaginary documentation system.” This NeXT Computer was used by Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world’s first web server. Berners-Lee wrote his proposal in March 1989 and, in 1990, redistributed it. It then was accepted by his manager, Mike Sendall.[29] He used similar ideas to those underlying the ENQUIRE system to create the World Wide Web, for which he designed and built the first Web browser. His software also functioned as an editor (called WorldWideWeb, running on the NeXTSTEP operating system), and the first Web server, CERN HTTPd (short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon).

He is commonly credited with inventing the World Wide Web (abbreviated as WWW or W3, commonly known as the web. The World Wide Web is a series of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them via hyperlinks.The web was developed between March 1989 and December 1990. Using concepts from his earlier hypertext systems such as ENQUIRE, British engineer Tim Berners-Lee, acomputer scientist and at that time employee of the CERN, now Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), wrote a proposal in March 1989 for what would eventually become the World Wide Web. The 1989 proposal was meant for a more effective CERN communication system but Berners-Lee eventually realised the concept could be implemented throughout the world. At CERN, a European research organisation nearGeneva straddling the border between France and Switzerland, berners-Lee and Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau proposed in 1990 to use hypertext “to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will”, and Berners-Lee finished the first website in December that year. Berners-Lee posted the project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup on 7 August 1991

In a 1970 issue of Popular Science magazine, Arthur C. Clarke predicted that satellites would someday “bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to your fingertips” using a console that would combine the functionality of the photocopier, telephone, television and a small computer, allowing data tyransfer and video conferencing around the globe.In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal that referenced ENQUIRE, a database and software project he had built in 1980, and described a more elaborate information management system. With help from Robert Cailliau, he published a more formal proposal (on 12 November 1990) to build a “Hypertext project” called “WorldWideWeb” (one word, also “W3”) as a “web” of “hypertext documents” to be viewed by “browsers” using a client–server architecture. This proposal estimated that a read-only web would be developed within three months and that it would take six months to achieve “the creation of new links and new material by readers, [so that] authorship becomes universal” as well as “the automatic notification of a reader when new material of interest to him/her has become available.” While the read-only goal was met, accessible authorship of web content took longer to mature, with the wiki concept, blogs, Web 2.0 and RSS/Atom.

The proposal was modeled after the SGML reader Dynatext by Electronic Book Technology, a spin-off from the Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship at Brown University. The Dynatext system, licensed by CERN, was a key player in the extension of SGML ISO 8879:1986 to Hypermedia within HyTime, but it was considered too expensive and had an inappropriate licensing policy for use in the general high energy physics community, namely a fee for each document and each document alteration.The CERN datacenter in 2010 housing some WWW serversA NeXT Computer was used by Berners-Lee as the world’s first web server and also to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb, in 1990. By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web: the first web browser (which was a web editor as well); the first web server; and the first web pages, which described the project itself.The first web page may be lost, but Paul Jones of UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina revealed in May 2013 that he has a copy of a page sent to him by Berners-Lee which is the oldest known web page. Jones stored it on a floppy disk and on his NeXT computer.

In 1991, Berners-Lee posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. This also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet, although new users only access it after August 23 1991. For this reason this is considered the internaut’s day. Many newsmedia have reported that the first photo on the web was uploaded by Berners-Lee in 1992, an image of the CERN house band Les Horribles Cernettes taken by Silvano de Gennaro; Gennaro has disclaimed this story, writing that media were “totally distorting our words for the sake of cheap sensationalism.”[18]The first server outside Europe was set up at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Palo Alto, California, to host the SPIRES-HEP database. Accounts differ substantially as to the date of this event. The World Wide Web Consortium says December 1992,[19]whereas SLAC itself claims 1991. This is supported by a W3C document titled A Little History of the World Wide Web.[22]The crucial underlying concept of hypertext originated with older projects from the 1960s, such as the Hypertext Editing System (HES) at Brown University, Ted Nelson’s Project Xanadu, and Douglas Engelbart’s oN-Line System (NLS). Both Nelson and Engelbart were in turn inspired by Vannevar Bush’s microfilm-based “memex”, which was described in the 1945 essay “As We May Think”.

Berners-Lee’s breakthrough was to incorporate hypertext to the Internet. In his book Weaving The Web, he explains that he had repeatedly suggested that a marriage between the two technologies was possible to members of both technical communities, but when no one took up his invitation, he finally assumed the project himself. In the process, he developed three essential technologies:a system of globally unique identifiers for resources on the Web and elsewhere, the universal document identifier (UDI), later known as uniform resource locator (URL) and uniform resource identifier (URI);the publishing language HyperText Markup Language (HTML);the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The World Wide Web had a number of differences from other hypertext systems available at the time. The web required only unidirectional links rather than bidirectional ones, making it possible for someone to link to another resource without action by the owner of that resource. It also significantly reduced the difficulty of implementing web servers and browsers (in comparison to earlier systems), but in turn presented the chronic problem of link rot. Unlike predecessors such as HyperCard, the World Wide Web was non-proprietary, making it possible to develop servers and clients independently and to add extensions without licensing restrictions. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone, with no fees due. Coming two months after the announcement that the server implementation of the Gopher protocol was no longer free to use, this produced a rapid shift away from Gopher and towards the Web.

An early popular web browser was ViolaWWW for Unix and the X Windowing System..Scholars generally agree that a turning point for the World Wide Web began with the introduction of the Mosaic web browser in 1993, a graphical browser developed by a team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (NCSA-UIUC), led by Marc Andreessen. Funding for Mosaic came from the U.S. High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative and the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, one of several computing developments initiated by U.S. Senator Al Gore.[28] Prior to the release of Mosaic, graphics were not commonly mixed with text in web pages and the web’s popularity was less than older protocols in use over the Internet, such as Gopher and Wide Area Information Servers(WAIS). Mosaic’s graphical user interface allowed the Web to become, by far, the most popular Internet protocol.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded by Tim Berners-Lee after he left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in October 1994. It was founded at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which had pioneered the Internet; a year later, a second site was founded at INRIA (a French national computer research lab) with support from the European Commission DG InfSo; and in 1996, a third continental site was created in Japan at Keio University. By the end of 1994, while the total number of websites was still minute compared to present standards, quite a number of notable websites were already active, many of which are the precursors or inspiration for today’s most popular services.Connected by the existing Internet, other websites were created around the world, adding international standards for domain namesand HTML. Since then, Berners-Lee has played an active role in guiding the development of web standards (such as the markup languages in which web pages are composed), and has advocated his vision of a Semantic Web. The World Wide Web enabled the spread of information over the Internet through an easy-to-use and flexible format. It thus played an important role in popularizing use of the Internet. It should be noted that The World Wide Web is different to the Internet, The world wide web is a collection of documents stored online, while the Internet is a means of accesssing them using Internet protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP. Tim Berners-Lee was knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the World Wide Web.


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