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Tim Fields

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Birth of the World Wide Web

Documented Birth of the World Wide Web

In response to a question by user “Nari” is a post by none other than Tim Berners-Lee, father of the world wide web. His response is remarkable in light of what was to follow. Note the text “If you’re interested in using the code…” and “It’s very prototype…”

Just in case it gets by you, note that html would not be officially published until June 1993.

The Post

Aug 6 1991, 3:31

In article 1991Aug2.115…@ardor.enet.dec.com> kan…@ardor.enet.dec.com (Nari In article 1991Aug2.115…@ardor.enet.dec.com> kan…@ardor.enet.dec.com (Nari Kannan) writes:

Is anyone reading this newsgroup aware of research or development efforts in the following areas:

1. Hypertext links enabling retrieval from multiple heterogenous sources of information?
2. “Qualified Hypertext LInks” – By this I mean attaching semantic information to the links themselves and retrieval using this to cut down on links that get followed.

Any information would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Nari

Response->

The WorldWideWeb (WWW) project aims to allow links to be made to any information anywhere. The address format includes an access method (=namespace), and for most name spaces a hostname and some sort of path.

We have a prototype hypertext editor for the NeXT, and a browser for line mode terminals which runs on almost anything. These can access files either locally, NFS mounted, or via anonymous FTP. They can also go out using a simple protocol (HTTP) to a server which interprets some other data and returns equivalent hypertext files. For example, we have a server running on our mainframe (http://cernvm.cern.ch/FIND in WWW syntax) which makes all the CERN computer center documentation available. The HTTP protocol allows for a keyword search on an index, which generates a list of matching documents as annother virtual hypertext document.

If you’re interested in using the code, mail me. It’s very prototype, but available by anonymous FTP from info.cern.ch. It’s copyright CERN but free distribution and use is not normally a problem.

The NeXTstep editor can also browse news. If you are using it to read this, then click on this: to find out more about the project. We haven’t put the news access into the line mode browser yet.

We also have code for a hypertext server. You can use this to make files available (like anonymous FTP but faster because it only uses one connection). You can also hack it to take a hypertext address and generate a virtual hypertext document from any other data you have - database, live data etc. It’s just a question of generating plain text or SGML (ugh! but standard) mark-up on the fly. The browsers then parse it on the fly.

The WWW project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news, and documentation. We are very interested in spreading the web to other areas, and having gateway servers for other data. Collaborators welcome! I’ll post a short summary as a separate article.

Tim Berners-Lee                         ti…@info.cern.ch
World Wide Web project                  Tel: +41(22)767 3755    
CERN                                    Fax: +41(22)767 7155
1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland             (usual disclaimer)
            

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