Happy Birthday Internet

Today the internet is 20 years old, the first site was launched on 6 August 1991 as part of a research project at CERN.

The first site is still online the content is a fascinating insight into how far-sighted Tim Berners-Lee, intelligent search, caching and collaborative content creation are all mentioned. It also shows a number of similarities to today’s sites;

  • structure, the information is categorised in a defined hierarchy
  • non-linear navigation; links connect you across the information categories
  • spelling mistakes (search for “moe” on this page)

But misses all the fun stuff – graphics, images, interaction, video. Persistent navigation, such an obvious feature of any modern website, is also missing, making the site rather difficult to read.

For all the far-sightedness of the developers the list of the intended omits any mention of business or commercial uses. That may be a function of the mandate of the developers, rather than their vision. Or perhaps the academic background limited their understanding of business interest. And even in their wildest, most optimistic, fantasies they could not have imagined the huge volume of sites existing today, according to NetCraft we’re pretty close to half a billion sites.

I heard about this via a tweet from David Bowen, who asks “has anyone created more jobs than Sir Tim BL?”. My first thought that Jesus might win, but I haven’t calculated that. One thing is certain; my job couldn’t exist with the developments sent in train by the team CERN.

So for me, today’s worth celebrating. I’ll raise a glass to all those pioneers who developed the tool I use every day for banking, shopping, talking to family, catching up with friends… and gave me a job I love. Cheers.

image; Birthday Cake /Omer Wazir/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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