Computer Science University

The Original World Wide Web

Over the last 4 years, cloud computing has gone from been something used by very few to something used by very many.  With the advent of products like Dropbox and iCloud, and mobile apps such as Facebook and Evernote, the Internet is growing at a rate the World Wide Web cannot match.  If that means we are seeing the transition from a more traditional World Wide Web to something that’s more of a content provider for Web Applications, the Internet must have changed dramatically in the past also.  It is therefore of the upmost importance that we must protect a record of what it was, in the same manner as we would a historical artifact.

‘The World-Wide Web’ by Berners-Lee et al. is a vitally important classic paper for Computer Scientists because it does just that.  In it, the authors (including Berners-Lee, no-doubt one of the men who has most shaped humanity) explain what their invention is and what sets it apart from other network information projects from the

It is important to think about what we take for granted now, and what was cutting edge at the time.  Having read the paper, the thing that stands out most is Hypertext – text that when clicked takes you to another file.  Without this crucial feature of the web, our interaction with it would never have been the same – we would have had to load web pages as we load documents from our computer – via a directory system.

Even though this paper was published fairly recently (1994), it was written for a world that has changed unimaginably in the last 19 years.  So much of it’s content is still relevant, which is incredible bearing in mind the circumstances.  Surely, it has passed the test of time.