The World Wide Web Celebrates 25th Birthday

 

The World Wide Web has become 25 years old. In 1989 a British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee tried to find a way to get computers around the world to communicate with each other. At first, Berners-Lee wanted to give scientists and researchers a way to share their information. He came up with a concept that could connect documents: the World Wide Web was born. It was an invention that revolutionized our world the way no other one has. Lee’s first computer, from which he accessed others, is still on display in London.

At that time the Internet had already been in existence for twenty years. However, even though data could be sent around the world there was no way of looking at documents that were stored on other computers.

Berners-Lee started out by writing a code that would determine how information could be exchanged and stored on computers. This became known as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). HTML was the new language that computers used to show their documents to other people. These documents had to be stored on servers that could be accessed from around the globe. By 1993 there were more than 500 web servers worldwide. Only a few million people had access to the web. Today, almost 2 billion people are connected to the World Wide Web.

Software companies quickly started to develop programs with which you could read these documents, so-called browsers. Towards the middle of the 1990s Netscape Navigator dominated the browser market and became the first browser to be used on a wide scale. It all but disappeared when Microsoft started supplying the Internet Explorer with its operating system Windows for free.  Today, Google has taken over the browser market with its free browser Chrome.

Nowadays, almost all people in developed countries have access to the Internet. But there are many countries in Africa and Asia where only a fraction of the population can use the World Wide Web regularly.

First web server used by Tim Berners-Lee

First web server used by Tim Berners-Lee

 

Since the early days of the web many things have changed. Animations, photos, interactive media have replaced mere text. The web has left PCs and is increasingly being used on smartphones and tablets. E-commerce, social media and cloud computing have become widespread.

While the World Wide Web is something we take for granted there are many questions that we are still facing. How free is the information on the internet and how does it affect society? IT experts think that in the coming years and decades the web will become more invisible but it will still be an essential part of human life, like electricity. Being connected will influence all areas of society, from leisure time to business and governments.

In the future, more and more everyday appliances will be connected to the Internet. Smart TV is only one of the devices we use every day that has web access. Health appliances, coffee machines and other items could follow.  On the other side, several problems have not been solved yet. Many areas of the web are not legally controlled. Pornography, crime and cyberbullying continue to make up a large share of all web pages.

 

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol

 

Related Topics

Words

  • access = get connected to; to be allowed to enter
  • affect = influence
  • appliance = tool, machine
  • cloud computing = system in which programs and data are not stored on your own computer but on the internet
  • code = set of instructions that tells a computer what to do
  • concept = idea, model, way of doing something
  • cyberbullying = to threaten or frighten someone  through the internet or social media networks
  • data = information
  • determine = control, decide
  • develop = create; to make something new
  • developed countries = rich countries in North America, Europe, as well as Japan and Australia
  • device = small machine
  • disappear = vanish, go away
  • document = written text
  • dominate = to be number one, control
  • e-commerce = the activity of buying and selling goods using a computer
  • electricity =  the power that is carried by wires and cables  and is used to give us light and heat and make machines work
  • essential = very important
  • even though = while
  • exchange = give and take; move from one place to another
  • existence = to be present
  • face = look at
  • fraction = small part
  • globe = world
  • however = but
  • increasingly = more and more
  • influence = effect, have an impact on
  • interactive =  to be able to communicate directly with something
  • invention = discovery
  • invisible = not to be seen
  • IT = Information Technology
  • item = object
  • legally = according to the law
  • leisure time = free time, when you are not working
  • mere = plain, ordinary
  • nowadays = today
  • operating system = a system in a computer that helps all the programs to work together
  • regularly = often, most of the time
  • replace = to take the place of
  • researcher = a person who wants to find out more about a certain topic
  • revolutionize = change, modernise
  • scientist = a person who works in a laboratory and is trained in science
  • server= main computer on a network, which controls others
  • several = many
  • share = part of the whole
  • share = use together
  • Smart TV = television that is connected to the internet and can be used as a computer
  • social media = platform designed to communicate with people, chat with them, send photos etc.,..
  • society = culture, people in general
  • store = to save things in a place until you need them
  • supply = provide , give to someone
  • take for granted = to expect something to always be here
  • towards = near
  • wide scale = here: by many people
  • widespread = used by many people