Weaving the Web

It is hard to believe that it's 10 years since the Web was created, and during this decade it's expanded to encompass a global flow of information. Many of us take advantage of this technology, and some of us have yet to encounter it. It is amazing to think that initially this was the idea of one man - a random thought - who wondered what it would be like if all information stored on computers everywhere was linked.

I found this a fascinating read, and very inspiring. Berners-Lee retraces the humble beginnings of his Web dream, and works hard to include the pivotal roles of the people - colleagues, friends and family - who supported him.

This is not just one man's story. Berners-Lee is successful in depicting the characters who assisted him along the way; e.g., Robert Cailleau, "a dapper dresser who methodically schedules haircuts according to the solstice and equinox". Cailleau was immediately converted to Berners-Lee's idea, and became a key player in championing the cause at CERN, where both worked.

Many of the common tools used on the Web have been around since its inception - uniform resource locators (URLs), hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), hypertext markup language (HTML), and also the first browser - and this is testament to the forethought and design detail Berners-Lee employed in his original idea. Without his ability to look to the future, and create a simple and easily executed design, our ability to share information across the Web may never have happened.

Anyone who has ever tried to get a project under way will empathise with the groundwork, frustrations, politics and negotiations with which Berners-Lee had to deal to keep his dream alive, even when it could have been stopped at any point along the way. This is a great read that will provide an insight into a technology that will continue to grow in the next millennium, and will inspire you to think.

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Amanda Conroy

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