Posted by: pkab | 15 November 2008

HyperText Markup Language


A Proposal

Information Management: A Proposal

Working during the 80s and the 90s, Tim Berners-Lee creates HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which use specifications for URLs or Uniform Resource Locators, for web addresses. Berners-Lee’s vision of “a global information space where information stored on computers everywhere was linked and available to anyone anywhere’. He combined hypertext and the internet: “Hypertext would allow any document in the information space to be linked to any other document. The Internet would allow those documents to be transmitted. … The new system would need to be easy and decentralized so that anyone anywhere could share information without having to go to a centralized authority.”

In 1989, Berners-Lee submitted a proposal at CERN to develop an information system that would create a web of information. Initially, his proposal received no reply, but he began working on his idea anyway. In 1990, he wrote the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)—the language computers would use to communicate hypertext documents over the Internet and designed a scheme to give documents addresses on the Internet. Berners-Lee called this address a Universal Resource Identifier (URI). (This is now usually known as a URL—Uniform Resource Locator.) By the end of the year he had also written a client program (browser) to retrieve and view hypertext documents. He called this client “WorldWideWeb.” Hypertext pages were formatted using the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that Berners-Lee had written. He also wrote the first web server. A web server is the software that stores web pages on a computer and makes them available to be accessed by others. Berners-Lee set up the first web server known as “info.cern.ch.” at CERN.

Berners-Lee tried to sell his new creation at CERN as a way to link data between the many incompatible systems at CERN. Still the bureaucracy at CERN was slow in acknowledging his efforts. Berners-Lee then turned to the Internet community. In 1991, he made his WorldWideWeb browser and web server software available on the Internet and posted notices to several newsgroups including alt.hypertext. The Web began to take off as computer enthusiasts around the world began setting up their own web servers. Often the owners of the new sites would email Berners-Lee and he would link to their sites from the CERN site. His dream of a global information space was finally happening.

As the number of users on the Web grew it became more attractive as a medium. Scientists, who were already used to sharing information on the Internet began to embrace the Web. It was easier to post information on the Web once than reply repeatedly to multiple requests for the same data. They also no longer had to worry whether or not the other scientists used a different operating system. Government agencies who had responsibilities to make their information public also began turning toward the Web.

As more people began using the Web the need for more point-and-click browsers became evident. Berners-Lee had developed his WorldWideWeb browser on a very specialized personal computer called a NeXT. What was needed now was browser that Mac, PC, and Unix users could use. This need was soon met as others, mostly students, began creating new browsers.

Source: JotSpot Wiki


Sur sees a concept map from Tim’s proposal.


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