Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BPN 1633: WWW browser 20 years

Today in the Netherlands the queen has abdicated and the new King, Willem Alexander, has been sworn in. There will be no republic in The Netherlands for a generation, roughly 30 years. So no festivities for the republicans

But for the digital natives among them, there is something else to celebrate. Twenty years ago on April 30th, 1993 the research laboratory CERN in Geneva released the software for the world wide web for free. It was the beginning of a new era. If the World Wide Web software had not been there, internet would have never come about.

© Collection Jak Boumans

The World Wide Web software was developed on a Next computer by Tim Berners Lee who worked as a researcher at a laboratory in Geneva. In 1989 he produced a first proposal on paper for a new online software. Central in this software was the concept of hypertext, an idea developed by the British scientist Ted Nelson. In order to link textual information of various fragments together and not in a linear or hierarchical way but ad random. It meant that text fragments could be linked but also text and illustrations, but also text, illustrations and sound fragments. The browser was born, but for it he needed a common mark-up language (HTML), a protocol (TC/IP) and a web address. 
The software was spread around to developers from the 6th of August 1991 onwards. And only from April 30th, 1993 the web browser was released for general use for free.  So in 1993  a project group of the University of Illinois started to work on a browser, which could handle www pages, but also graphics, illustrations and text pages. By 1994 a commercial browser had been developed by Marc Andreessen, one of the Mosaic developers, under the name Netscape.

No comments: