Tim Berners-Lee

Timothy John Berners-Lee OBE (TimBL or TBL to his admirers) (b. June 8, 1955) is the inventor of the World Wide Web and head of the World Wide Web Consortium, which oversees its continued development.

Table of contents
1 Early life and career
2 Proposal and Prototype
3 The First Website
4 No Royalties
5 Recognition
6 Weaving the Web
7 See Also
8 External links

Early life and career

He was born in London, England, and as a child, studied at Emanuel School in Wandsworth, He is an alumnus of the Queen's College of Oxford University, where, interestingly, he built a computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television. It was also at Oxford where was caught hacking with a friend and was banned from using the university computer soon after.

Before he invented the World Wide Web, he had plenty of programming experience. He worked at Plessey Telecommunications Limited in 1976 as a programmer, and in 1978 he worked at D.G Nash Limited where he worked on typesetting software and an operating system.

Proposal and Prototype

In 1980, while an independent contractor at CERN, Berners-Lee proposed a project based on the concept of hypertext, to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. With help from Robert Cailliau he built a prototype system named Enquire.

After leaving CERN to work at John Poole's Image Computer Systems Ltd, he returned in 1984 as a fellow. He used similar ideas that he used in Enquire to create the World Wide Web, for which he designed and built the first browser (called WorldWideWeb and developed on NeXTSTEP) and the first web server simply called httpd.

The First Website

The first web site Tim built (and therefore the first web site) was at info.cern.ch and was first put online on August 6, 1991. It provided an explanation about what the World Wide Web was, how to get your own browser, how to set up your own web server and so on. It was also the world's first web directory, since Tim maintained a list of other web sites apart from his own.

No Royalties

While the component ideas of the World Wide Web are simple, Berners-Lee's insight was to combine them in a way which is still exploring its full potential. Perhaps his greatest single contribution, though, was to make his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. In 1994 he founded World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (MIT), and in 2003, the organization decided that all standards must contain royalty-free technology, so they can be easily adopted by anyone.

Recognition

Berners-Lee became the first holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at LCS, and is now a Senior Research Scientist within the Lab. In 1997 he was awarded an OBE and he was knighted as part of the 2004 New Year's Honours. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. He received the Japan Prize in 2002.

Weaving the Web

In his book Weaving the Web, several recurring themes are apparent:

  • It is just as important to be able to edit the web as browse it. (Wiki is therefore a significant step in the right direction, although Berners-Lee considers it merely a shadow of the WYSIWYG functionality of his first browser.)
  • Computers can be used for background tasks that enable humans to work better in groups.
  • Every aspect of the internet should function as a web, rather than a tree structure. Notable current exceptions are the domain name system and the domain naming rules managed by ICANN.
  • Computer scientists have a moral responsibility as well as a technical responsibility.

See Also

External links




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