You may not have noticed but the World Wide Web turned 25 two days ago. On March 12, 1989 Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal which defined the beginnings of the World Wide Web. Here is a brief World Wide Web history and the history of the internet too.
The last paragraph implies that the World Wide Web and the internet are different. This is true. As the World Wide Web was first being conceived the internet had already been around for 20 years. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
What's the difference?
The World Wide Web is a system of hyperlinked documents that uses the internet's infrastructure to move data. The internet is a 'network of networks' all interconnected to allow data to travel all over the world. So the World Wide Web uses the internet to transport data but they are two distinct things.
If you think you are internet savvy try this internet quiz.
Where was the internet conceived and developed?
In the United States. The ARPANet was the beginning of what we know today as the internet. It was developed and first used in 1969. Four universities - UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford and the University of Utah each had a computer that was connected to the ARPANet. The first message sent over the network was 'login.' The 'l' and the 'o' made it, and then the system crashed, so the first actual transmission was 'lo.' The ARPANet was the world's first packet-switched network, which means it could be connected to more than two computers and be able to communicate with any of them because the destination address for each packet resides in the packet itself.
The internet was a follow-on project to ARPANet which began in 1983. The internet originally used six top-level domains. .com, .gov, .mil, .net, .org and .edu. Today there are hundreds of top-level domains. Each country has its own top-level domain and there are many others that have been created.
Where was the World Wide Web conceived and developed?
In Switzerland. The World Wide Web came about to fill a need. Tim Berners-Lee worked ad CERN in Geneva Switzerland. He saw the need to connect users to documents they needed in an easy-to-use manner. He didn't invent the hyperlink, but he came up with the concept of interconnecting documents via hyperlinks - links that could be clicked which took the user to another document. In the World Wide Web world a web page is called a document. The document is accessed through software called a browser (like Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome). It has hyperlinks, or connections to other documents (or other locations in the same document) that you access by clicking.
The browser that made the World Wide Web popular was NCSA Mosaic which was a free download. It was developed by the National Center for Supercomputer Applications. Mosaic had a spinning globe which was copied on early browsers to indicate waiting for a website to respond. In the early days many people called WWW the "World Wide Wait" because it took a while on slower connections to get the response from sites and you saw that spinning globe a lot. Many early connections were via modems which were 56k baud (56 kilobits per second) or slower. In contrast, today we enjoy multiple megabits per second. It is common for people to have 20M baud (20 megabits per second) or more in their homes.
Now that you understand a bit about the history of the internet and the World Wide Web say Happy Birthday. To the World Wide Web, that is, not to the internet.
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