Happy Birthday - The WWW turns 25!

13th March 2014

Agility Mail

As crazy as it seems, the "World Wide Web" (not to be confused as some media outlets have with the Internet) is now 25 years old.

Ever wondered why Web Site addresses start with "http://" and often have "www" in them?

There are very good reasons for this. Sir Tim Berners-Lee created a system called "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol" (http) and a language named "HTML" - or "HyperText Markup Language" - the things you typically think of as a Web Page today.

His goal back in 1989 was to come up with a system that allowed a pool of information to grow and evolve and centered around linking content - known as Hyperlinks.

Of course today you might not think about it very much (unless you're a Web Developer or someone who directly "cares" about these things) but in reality the invention of the WWW ultimately sits as a key part of the Internet and without which many of us wouldn't have a job in the IT industry and for many "online only businesses" no income or business to run either!

So thanks Sir Tim Berners-Lee - your boss might have considered the idea "vague but exciting" but I doubt either he or you knew just how utterly useful and successful it would become.

To celebrate, here are a things we think represent the history of the WWW in both it's good and bad forms:


1. "Under Construction Pages"

All too common at one point on the WWW were pages that claimed not to be pages yet by virtue of being under construction. Seen less frequently today but with increasingly 3D and silly graphics today instead of ridiculous animated "shoveling men" GIF images of the past.

Check out this "collection on Bing Images: [ Under Construction ]

2. Adobe Flash

Seen as some kind of way to make the entire WWW a rich graphical experience. In reality very popular with "online games" and "banner advertising" - although there were some pretty nifty and clever uses too. Flash is a dying concept now as Apple devices don't use them and they're increasingly marginalised as new Web technologies come out.

3. HoTMaiL - the World's Free Web Based E-Mail

Now known as "Outlook.com" and owned by Microsoft, HoTMaiL was a very early "web Mail" service - the name a play on the HTML standard Tim Berners-Lee invented - hence the strange capitalisation of the name. Essentially a major player in e-mail via the Web in the earlier days (and for some of us an account we've held since 1996, and still in use occasionally).

An older "Pre Microsoft" HoTMAiL on the Left and today's "Outlook.com" sign in screen:

Hotmail and Outlook


And just to clear up, the WWW is not the Internet...

Some news and media outlet's have confused the "Internet" and the "WWW" and implied that the Internet is 25 years old. The "WWW" is specifically about just one aspect of the Internet, the "world wide web" - web pages, web sites and so on. The Internet itself has a much more complex history (and if you're interested, you can see a history of it here). So, sorry "The Independent" and "Daily Mail" (among others) you're not as clued up as you think, fortunately the "WWW" (not the Internet) - lets you correct yourself so nobody notices (unlike the printed version of your "journalism")

Don't forget...

If you want to make sure in the next 25 years your business gets the advantage from the WWW and the Internet in general, speak to our team today - we'll help you benefit from Tim Berners-Lee's invention too - and maybe you'll be thankful his idea made traction and led to something we all use today. Call on 01392 950 950.

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