A Software Engineer Dreams Up the World Wide Web

It started in the Swiss Alps. The year was 1980. Tim Berners-Lee (b.1955), a British software engineer working temporarily at Cern, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in Geneva, was fooling with a way to organize his far flung notes. Building on ideas then current in software design, he fashioned a kind of “hypertext” notebook. Words in a document could be linked to other files on Berners-Lee’s computer.

By why not , he wondered, open up his document, – and his computer, – to everyone and allow them to link their stuff to his. So he cobbled together a coding system, – HTML (HyperTextMarkupLanguage), – and designed an addressing scheme that gave each web page a unique location, or URL (Universal Resource Locator). And he hacked a set of rules that permitted these documents to be linked together on computers across the internet, – HTTP (HyperTextTransferProtocol).

And on the seventh day, Berners-Lee assembled the World Wide Webs first browser, which allowed users anywhere to view his creation on their computer screens. He alerted the world by way of a message posted to a newsgroup, and the world came.

On August 6, 1991, the web made its debut, instantly bringing order to the chaos that was cyberspace. From that moment on, the web and the Internet grew as one, often at exponential rates. Within five years, the number of Internet users jumped from 600,000 to 40 million. Until then, we hadn’t really known what a powerful new tool the computer could be for everyone. Now we do

Idea 100
from 100 Ideas That Changed The World
History’s Greatest Breakthrough, Inventions, and Theories

What we can do

Connect our creative community and design a creative commons where we can explore what we can do in the world of digital media to explore what we can do in the real world as a community contributing to and caring about creating the future of the world, working with a foundation of ideas, a system, a structure, and a creative process, and learning what contributes to our ability to create with our experience, create with one another, and create the experience we want in creating a better future for our world.