The Web was the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee who was working at the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Tim faced a number of IT problems, some of which still exist today:

  • Multiple terminals were needed to connect to different computer systems
  • Different computer systems were used to store different types of information
  • Data stored on one computer system was inaccessible from other systems
  • The data format on one system was incompatible with the data type or format on another computer system
  • It wasn't possible to link random pieces of information stored across different computer systems together

Tim's very elegant solution was to create a 'world' where information could be accessed from a single terminal and any document could reference any other document because all documents had a unique location identifier associated with them. Thus, specifying the document's identifier at the terminal could retrieve a specific document. Using a document description language, you could create links between related pieces of information from within the document. Today, we call these relational links "hyperlinks".

Several things had to be created, and/or occur before what we know as the World Wide Web could be born. Here is a quick list.

  • Late 1960's - C programming language - Ken Thompson & Dennis Ritchie was needed to write UNIX
  • UNIX - AT&T - Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Douglas McIlroy - UNIX
  • 1973 - Xerox - Ethernet and networks - Bob Metcalf
  • Internet Protocol (Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn)
  • BSD - Berkeley - Computers with Unix-type Operating system that understands TCP/IP
  • Creation of the ARPAnet which begat..
  • DARPAnet which begat..
  • NSFnet which begat..
  • The Internet
  • 1987 - Apple - HyperCard (Apple) - Bill Atkinson - A program linking a stack of cards together into a 'web' of information using hypertext - clickable text that took you to any other card in the hypercard stack.
  • Steve Jobs leaves Apple and forms "NeXT Computers" - works with Adobe on PostScript
  • PostScript - A page description language created to generate electronic documents uniformly in print or on a computer display
  • 1991
    • CERN - Tim Berners-Lee
      • invents software named "WorldWideWeb" for the NeXT computer.
      • Dreams up HTML to unify file/display formats and uses postscript
    • May - NSF allows commercial Internet use
    • December 8 - U.S. - Public Law 102-194 passed (Al Gore's claim to Internet fame) -
    • DOT COM BOOM BEGINS! If the Internet had not been opened to commercial use, the World Wide Web, as we know it, would not exist.
  • 1993 - National Center for Supercomputing Applications - NCSA Mosaic - First web browser


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