Department of Defense laid the foundation of the Internet roughly 30
years ago with a network called ARPANET. But the general public didn't
use the Internet much until after the development of the World Wide
Web in the early 1990s. As recently as June 1993, there were only 130
Web sites. Now there are millions. Here's a quick look at how it all
came to be.
In 1957, the U.S. government formed the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(ARPA), a segment of the Department of Defense charged with ensuring
U.S. leadership in science and technology with military applications.
In 1969, ARPA established ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet. Research
and education ARPANET was a network that connected major computers at
the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California
at Santa Barbara, Stanford Research Institute, and the University of
Utah. Within a couple of years, several other educational and research
institutions joined the network. In response to the threat of nuclear
attack, ARPANET was designed to allow continued communication if one
or more sites were destroyed. Unlike today, when millions of people
have access to the Internet from home, work, or their public library,
ARPANET served only computer professionals, engineers, and scientists
who knew their way around its complex workings.
the 1970s, developers created the protocols used to transfer information
over the Internet. By the early 1980s, Usenet newsgroups and electronic
mail had been born. Most users were affiliated with universities, although
libraries began to connect their catalogs to the Internet, too. During
the late 1980s, developers created indices, such as Archie and the Wide
Area Information Server (WAIS), to keep track of the information on
the Internet. To give users a friendly, easy-to-use interface to work
with, the University of Minnesota created its Gopher, a simple menu
system for accessing files, in 1991.
Berners-Lee: Father of the Web
Wide Web came into being in 1991, thanks to developer Tim Berners-Lee
and others at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, also known
as Conseil Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN). The CERN team
created the protocol based on hypertext that makes it possible to connect
content on the Web with hyperlinks. Berners-Lee now directs the World
Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a group of industry and university representatives
that oversees the standards of Web technology. Early on, the Internet
was limited to noncommercial uses because its backbone was provided
largely by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, and the U.S. Department of Energy, and funding
came from the government. But as independent networks began to spring
up, users could access commercial Web sites without using the government-funded
network. By the end of 1992, the first commercial online service provider,
Delphi, offered full Internet access to its subscribers, and several
other providers followed. In June 1993, the Web boasted just 130 sites.
By a year later, the number had risen to nearly 3,000. As of April 1998,
there were more than 2.2 million sites on the Web.
in control here?
authority controls the World Wide Web. Today's Web site authoring tools
allow virtually anyone who has access to a computer and the Internet
to post a Web site and contribute to the definition of what this medium
is and what it can do. But the World Wide Web Consortium does oversee
the development of Web technology. You shape the Web According to the
developer of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, " the dream behind
the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by
sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a
hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local, or global,
be it draft or highly polished." With the development of tools that
allow us to create Web sites without having any knowledge of hypertext
markup language (HTML), this dream is being realized.
Wide Web Consortium
an eye on the standards of Web technology is W3C, formed by Berners-Lee
in 1994. An international group of industry and university representatives,
W3C promotes the Web by developing common protocols for transmitting
information over the Internet. The consortium provides information,
reference code, and prototype and sample applications to developers
and users. It is hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's
Laboratory for Computer Science in the United States, the Institut National
de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique in Europe, and the Keio
University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan.
divide World Wide Web sites into categories based on the nature of their
owner, and they form part of a site's address, or uniform resource locator
(URL). Common top-level domains are: