Top Ten Things to Know About Tim Berners-Lee
Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for the software design and organization of the World Wide Web as we know it. Berners-Lee remains a strong advocate of allowing anyone who wishes to be able to gain free access to the internet and what is available thereon, rather than trying to make money off of his creation.
1. Creator of the World Wide Web
Throughout history many men and woman have received credit for inventing products that were actually the result of a larger group effort. This is not the case with Berners-Lee as he alone is responsible for the design of the World Wide Web.
2. Free and Non-Proprietary
Berners-Lee insisted from the very beginning that the World Wide Web be free and non-proprietary. He wanted the web to benefit everyone in the world, not just those with the appropriate means.
3. Getting Organized
Berners-Lee began working as a software engineer and found himself in need of a better method of organization. He wanted to devise a way to organize his notes in a way that saved space and made working sense; he created a piece of software that helped to track associations for him. In other words, the program would remember and sort pieces of information that Berners-Lee may not have been able to make associations between or remember.
Berners-Lee called his software Enquire, which is short for Enquire Within Upon Everything: named after a Victorian-era encyclopedia that he remembered from his childhood.
5. Open Access
Organizing his own documents was just the beginning. Berners-Lee soon discovered that there was a need to connect his documents to the documents of others. So, what he did was devise a system of following link numbers to other documents. Continually asking permission to gain access to information at another location became bothersome, especially if that information had to first be sent to a central database before it was distributed to others. To streamline this process, Berners-Lee decided to open his computer up to everyone and allow anyone who needed access to have that access. He eliminated the need to have a central database.
6. Genius and Expanse
Little by little what began as a technique for organization turned into a web of information that could be easily interpreted, accessed and utilized. The World Wide Web was just that, strings of Berners-Lee's innovation that added on to each other, making the overall genius and expanse of the web more and more impressive.
7. HTML aka Hyper Text Mark-up Language
All this file sharing had an encoding system called HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language). He designed the concept of web pages, where each page would have a specific URL (Universal Resource Locator). Finally, he created rules by which documents would be able to be linked together across the internet (he called this HTTP or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol).
8. Creation of The First Browser
Berners-Lee is responsible for creating the World Wide Web's first browser. A browser allows users anywhere to view his creation on their computer screen. Browsers as we know them today are organized channels that we can use to access the content we are looking for. The browser gives sense to the web.
9. Exponential Growth
In 1991, the World Wide Web officially debuted and exponential growth ensued. Within five years, the number of World Wide Web users increased from 600,000 to 40 million.
10. Not-For-Profit or Exclusive
To this day, Berners-Lee continues to insist that the World Wide Web be a non-profit system. Even when others were getting rich from using the technology that he introduced, Berners-Lee stands by his belief that proprietary knowledge should not be used to hold people back from doing something great.
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