World wide web’s first website marks 21st anniversary this week

7 Aug 2012

WWW inventor Tim Berners-Lee in Dublin in April 2012

It was in 1990 that the English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web while at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN, but the first website went live on 6 August 1991.

In 1989 Berners-Lee first proposed an information management system while working as a scientists at CERN. Flash forward to December 1990 when he teamed up with Robert Cailliau at CERN to fuse hypertext to TCP (transmission control protocol) and spawn the internet as we know it.
His specifications of URls, HTTP and HTML were refined as web technology took force.

Back in April, Berners-Lee spoke at a conference in Dublin about the creation of the world wide web: “My boss approved the purchase of a few NeXT machines (the late Apple CEO) Steve Jobs had produced and just to kick the tires with the new machines I wrote a simple version of HTML and HTTP and produced a memo and a few people noticed.”

Berners-Lee moved to MIT and set up the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1994. The aim of the consortium is to develop specifications, guidelines, software, and tools so that the web can be used to its full potential.

A promoter of open government data globally, he is also a director of the World Wide Web Foundation, which was launched in 2009.
Berners-Lee also directs the UK’s project to open up official data for public use.

Right now he is a professor of engineering in the School of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at MIT.

In addition, he is also a professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK.

Berners-Lee took to the stage for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 a few weeks ago, where he live tweeted ‘This is for everyone’ in reference to the web and its impact on the world since it first arrived on the scene.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic