Celebrating 30 years of the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web turns 30 years old on March 12. To celebrate this birthday, we’ve compiled a timeline of the most important milestones in the web’s history.
1989 Data sharing at CERN
The idea of a computer networking spanning the globe had appeared in science fiction for decades. But it was frustrations at CERN over sharing data that saw Tim Berners Lee, in 1989, turn his attention to sharing data from a multitude of different systems.
Whilst formulating this new system it quickly became apparent just how far reaching the idea could be. From scientific circles to the spread to other academic disciplines and then (eventually) into the home.
1991 Welcome to the World Wide Web
Over the next few years the main technologies of the World Wide Web were developed along with the first browser, also called the World Wide Web and the idea was shown to the world, Tim Berners Lee described it in 1991:
The WWW project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news, and documentation. We are very interested in spreading the web to other areas, and having gateway servers for other data.
1992 The first browsers
New browsers appeared to serve the growing web pages, some of the early releases were the Line Mode Browser (1992), Viola WWW Browser (1992) and Mosaic Browser (1993). It was in 1995 that we first saw the release of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and its main rival, Netscape Navigator.
1995 The dot com boom
The dot com boom from 1995-2000 saw millions made (and subsequently lost) as investors poured money into unstable start ups in the hopes of huge returns, of course those investors that backed the likes of Google, Amazon and eBay are pretty happy with their decision.
2002 Social media
2002 saw the launch of some social networks you may remember, MySpace, Friendster and everyone’s favourite; LinkedIn. This social media emergence mirrored the increasing ubiquity of internet access in the home. Have you heard of Facebook? That launched just after in 2004.
2007 The web goes mobile
Some early attempts to put the internet on your phone gave us WAP sites but it was 2007’s launch of the iPhone which truly made the web mobile. It was this innovation that slowly made the responsive web site the only sensible approach to designing web pages.
2019 30 years and still evolving
The open nature of the world wide web means innovation happens at a rapid pace and frequent conversations regarding net neutrality will continue for some time. Will we be browsing the web with VR headsets on in a few years? Will our World Wide Web need to reach out to other planets? We shall see!
Did anyone really invent the internet?
In 1969 remote computers first communicated directly for the first time. In 1983 networking standards (TCP/IP) were first adopted.
In 1989, British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee laid out a proposal which detailed the networking principles of a world wide web (such as HTML, URL, and HTTP) that - at the time - were described by his boss as "vague but exciting"!
March 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of that last milestone and is widely regarded as the birth of the "internet" as we know it today.