On the 12th November 1990, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee published the first formal proposal for the World Wide Web. This “Hypertext project” would be accessed via a piece of software called a “browser”. In less than two months Berners-Lee developed the first four key parts of the Web: a browser called “WorldWideWeb” (which he spelled as one word without spaces); a web editor; a web server; and the first ever web pages.
At the time Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. His role was initially as a communications engineer, but after a short time with another company he returned to CERN as a fellow. During his previous tenure he had developed a way to use hypertext to improve the way that researchers could share and update information within the facility. By the time he returned, the internet – that’s the name given to the global connection of different computers and network together, basically a network of networks – was expanding exponentially. Berners-Lee described the creation of the World Wide Web as putting the TCP/IP technology together with other previously developed technologies such as hypertext and DNS.
The idea initially met with a muted response outside CERN, so was operated internally until it made its debut on the Internet on the 6th August 1991 following a post by its inventor on a newsgroup. Within five years the World Wide Web began to be adopted by people and companies that weren’t connected with science of academia, and it has seemingly been dominated by photographs of cats ever since.