Today, August 23, is the 25th anniversary of the official launch of the World Wide Web, which went public to the public on Aug. 23, 1991, and was named “Internaut Day”. Below is a screenshot of the very first website, preserved for posterity exactly as it was then. Isn’t it just too cute?! Click on “What’s out there?” and you get all of 17 subjects! Amazing for that time, and they included Physics, Religion and Poetry. Nowadays, clicking on any link to get the back pages on the subject list is like Calling a Random Swede. You kind of look at it buffering and wonder, Will someone pick up? Is there anyone there? A Swede, yes. The next page, sadly no. Of course, the 25th Aug. was but one event in a long list of noteworthy happenings and development milestones over many years. “Internaut Day” is a handy marker but not quite accurate. The Web Foundation stated: “There are lots of other important dates in the Web’s history, of course…In August 1991—starting on the 6th—Sir Tim invited the public to collaborate on the web through a series of posts on newsgroups. It’s this development that Internaut Day is based on, and we’re glad that millions of people are coming together through the web.” So, if it helps people to be aware of the importance of a free, accessible Internet, here’s a toast to Internaut Day!
The first web page was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva. The page went live at CERN on Dec. 20, 1990 and was opened up to the high-energy physics community on Jan. 10, 1991. But it wasn’t until August of that year that Berners-Lee made the project public by posting a summary of the project on several online forums, lastly on Aug. 22. And the Internet was born. Today, the rules and standards for the Internet – including writing and image standards – are still set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C’s international member organizations, its full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. It is led by the afore-mentioned Tim Berners-Lee – the man behind that first web page – and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe.
It used to be so simple then – information being sent between one computer and another. Now, it is the whole, indispensable, World Wide Web.
On the growth of the Internet illustration, below, you can see the dates that the sites we live with every day were introduced:
- Wikipedia – 2001
- Google – 1998
- WordPress – 2003
Seems like they have always been there. So remember that nothing is forever, not even diamonds, Mr. Bond. These websites and internet hosts are just businesses that come and go, like Yahoo.
And then there was e-mail…
E-mail developed roughly at the same time as the WWW – and also has a complicated history. BBN Technologies’ Ray Tomlinson is credited with introducing the usage of “@“ in 1971 (not 1972), the idea being the symbol representing “located at” in the form user@host. He did not invent the @ sign – it is centuries old and its earliest use was in 1345. The full e-mail system, as we know it now, was developed by V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, in 1978. Yes, email is more than 30 years old. The @ in email addresses, using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or SMTP system, contains the reference to the website domain where the user is located, as in “firstname.lastname@example.org” (the user ddoody located at site the example.com domain). A domain is any computer, service, or resource connected to the Internet or a private network. So, obviously, at the time email was developed, its application was limited because the WWW was limited too.
Today on the www – 1,070,311,800 + websites