Happy Birthday: World Wide Web turns 20

By on August 6, 2011, 3:00 PM

British engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled a project for organizing information on August 6, 1991. He called it the World Wide Web and posted a short summary on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, marking the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet. Today, the World Wide Web is thus 20 years old.

The World Wide Web, or just the Web as we call it today, is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. In essence, users can view web pages that contain text, images, videos, and/or other multimedia with a Web browser. Navigation between them occurs via hyperlinks.

Berners-Lee, now Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, used concepts from earlier hypertext systems to write a proposal in March 1989 for what would eventually become the World Wide Web. In November 1990, Berners-Lee and Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau proposed to use hypertext to link and access information of various kinds.

The project was publicly introduced in December 1990 at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Berners-Lee used a NeXT Computer as the world's first web server and also to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb. 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 of course described the project itself.

Of the various individual projects that went into building the Internet, the World Wide Web is to this day one of the most significant by far. Thank you Berners-Lee!

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