The Web as we know it today was invented by Tim Berners Lee and Robert Cailliau. In 1989 they proposed a hypertext database for sharing information. In 1990 they created the basic Web system and the browser. The following is an overview of the history of the World Wide Web.
Why the Web was Invented
Lee was working for CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in the 1980s. He was looking for a way for physicists and scientists to share data. He wanted to device a system that would make data sharing easy regardless of machine or application being used. He decided to call the system the World Wide Web.
Together with Cailliau, Lee developed the basic features of the Web. These included the HTTP (hypertext markup protocol), HTML (hypertext markup language) and a browser. The browser had FTP and newsgroup capabilities built in.
In 1992 a browser called Erwise was developed which supported graphics. However the Web was still used mainly for scientific research.
Growth and Expansion
The pivotal point in the history of the World Wide Web took place in 1993 when the Mosaic browser appeared. It was invented by the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications). It supported pictures, text and other media.
This led to widespread support. This was followed by the release of Cello, the first Web browser for Windows. It came out in 1993.
In 1994, Marc Andreessen (Mosaic inventor) and James Clark decided to market Mosaic. They altered the name to Netscape Navigator that year. Netscape would prove enormously popular. The browser not only supported text and graphics but it also supported third party plug ins for sound and animation.
Eventually Netscape would include other advanced scripting capabilities as well. Netscape’s success was critical in the history of the World Wide Web.
The success of Netscape prompted other developers to make other Web browsers. This included Microsoft which created Internet Explorer and started bundling it with the Windows operating system.
The Mid 1990s and Beyond
The history of the Net will show that from the mid 1990s onward, the number of Web pages and users would double or triple every year. Users began seeing the possibility of producing their own Web sites at very little cost. They also saw the potential to reach out to others via email and chat at a fraction of the cost of a phone call.
The history of the World Wide Web shows how vital it could be to business. The Web allowed them to promote their products in ways not possible before. By creating websites they could support their products and reach out to a worldwide audience.
With email and forms, they could also get instant feedback. As technology improved, it became possible to conduct business transactions online.
The Web Today
Following the dot com boom and bust the Web has become more widespread than ever. Aside from being a business and research tool, the Web has become the avenue for blogging (an online journal) and social networking. It also remains one of the most efficient ways to communicate with people from all over the world.
The history of the World Wide Web continues to evolve. Few could have expected it to become what it is today, and few can predict what it will be like in the years ahead.