How The World Wide Web (www) and Hyperlinks Started

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Some time back I was writing articles about the origin of the Internet versus the origin of the World Wide Web (WWW). I was pointing out that the Internet and the World Wide Web are NOT the same.

Which I thought they were when I was a newbie.

The Internet started in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s mostly for military reasons and of course the US took special interest in the launch of the Russian Sputnik.

The World Wide Web evolved around 1990/1991 mostly from the work of Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist working for CERN in Switzerland.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research was known as CERN.

He was looking for a way so that scientists world-wide especially in France (at the time) could quickly share information.

So he developed his passion for hyperlinks so that clickable links could take the user to a different page or even to a different site.

Basically the World Wide Web runs on the Internet in the same way that a tram or train runs on tracks/lines.

You don’t have to remember all this…it’s provided for your interest and education.

I have pasted some extra historical stuff below for you and it’s quite fascinating.

Your friend and mentor,
Kevin Johnston

In 1941, Jorge Luis Borges created The Garden of Forking Paths, a branching style short story that is often considered an inspiration for the concept of hypertext.[2]

In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote an article in The Atlantic Monthly called “As We May Think”, about a futuristic proto-hypertext device he called a Memex.

This was a microfiche that stopped where you told it to, but not a punctuation nor a network document standard.

In 1963, Ted Nelson coined the terms ‘hypertext’ and ‘hypermedia’ in a model he developed for creating and using linked content (first published reference 1965[3]).

He later worked with Andries van Dam to develop the Hypertext Editing System (text editing) in 1967 at Brown University.

Douglas Engelbart independently began working on his NLS system in 1962 at Stanford Research Institute, although delays in obtaining funding, personnel, and equipment meant that its key features were not completed until 1968.

In December of that year, Engelbart demonstrated a ‘hypertext’ (meaning editing) interface to the public for the first time, in what has come to be known as “The Mother of All Demos”. Thus the word processor had been born.

The first hypermedia application was the Aspen Movie Map in 1977. This allowed users to choose which way they wanted to drive in a virtual cityscape.

In 1980, Tim Berners-Lee created ENQUIRE, an early hypertext database system somewhat like a wiki but without hypertext punctuation, which was not invented until 1987.

The early 1980s also saw a number of experimental “hyperediting” functions in word processors and hypermedia programs, many of whose features and terminology were later analogous to the World Wide Web.

Guide, the first significant hypertext system for personal computers, was developed by Peter J. Brown at UKC in 1982.

In August 1987, Apple Computer released HyperCard for the Macintosh line at the MacWorld convention.

Its impact, combined with interest in Peter J. Brown’s GUIDE (marketed by OWL and released earlier that year) and Brown University’s Intermedia, led to broad interest in and enthusiasm for databases and new media.

The first ACM Hypertext (hyperediting and databases) academic conference took place in November 1987, in Chapel Hill NC, where many other applications, including the branched literature writing software Storyspace, were also demonstrated.[4]

Meanwhile Nelson, who had been working on and advocating his Xanadu system for over two decades, along with the commercial success of HyperCard, stirred Autodesk to invest in his revolutionary ideas.

The project continued at Autodesk for four years, but no product was released.

In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee, then a scientist at CERN, proposed and later prototyped a new hypertext project in response to a request for a simple, immediate, information-sharing facility, to be used among physicists working at CERN and other academic institutions.

He called the project “WorldWideWeb”.[5]

About the author

Kevin Johnston

Permanent link to this article: http://kevin-johnston.com/how-the-world-wide-web-www-and-hyperlinks-started/4321/

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