Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web

Topics: World Wide Web, World Wide Web Consortium, Web page Pages: 5 (1728 words) Published: August 2, 2009
Initial Goal and Purpose
Berners-Lee’s Vision vs. Developments in Past Twenty Years Vision Part I: Incremental Evolution
Vision Part II: Universal Information System
Vision Part III: Interchange of Money
Vision Part IV: Human collaboration
Vision Part V: Machine Interaction & The Semantic Web
Business Adaptation
Integrating Business with The Web
Realisation of Impact on Business

The World Wide Web (commonly known as ‘the web’) began as a new way for computers to communicate with each other through the sharing of information. However in the last two decades since its development, it has affected more than communication between machines but revolutionised the way people live. It has become a common medium for education, entertainment, shopping, social networking, and anything else which may involve an exchange of information. Twenty years ago, when Tim Berners-Lee put forward the proposal which lead to the creation of the World Wide Web (Gaudin, 2009), he designed the web for a seemingly simple purpose of sharing information between computers. However, Berners-Lee had a vision for the World Wide Web attached to this purpose. This report will investigate what Berners-Lee ultimate vision for the web was, and find out how much of it has been developed through a comparison with today’s World Wide Web. It will also discuss how businesses will need to adapt in the next ten years to take advantage of the web.

Initial Goal and Purpose
Berners-Lee’s vision of the web was comprised of both his initial goal and long term objectives for the web’s development. The goal of the web was to create a shared information space through which people and machines could communicate (Berners-Lee, 1996). This was an immediate solution to the problem of incompatibility between computer systems, networks, disk formats, data formats and character-encoding schemes experienced in the 1980’s. On a more direct personal level, the web was Berners-Lee’s solution to keeping track of his own work information (Berners-Lee, 1989).

Berners-Lee’s Vision vs. Developments in Past Twenty Years Long term objectives were also built within this solution, and formed Berners-Lee’s vision. Berners-Lee foresaw smooth and incremental evolution for the web in the future, and this aspect of his vision was evident within the design criteria of the web.

Vision Part I: Incremental Evolution
The web was designed with as few specifications as possible, allowing parts of the design to be altered while retaining the basic architecture (Berners-Lee, 1996), contributing to the adoption of World Wide Web. The fulfilment of this part of his vision was witnessed in the past two decades as the flexibility of the web lead to developments of a wide range of different applications. The incremental evolution continues today as the web plays an increasingly larger role in modern human lifestyles. Berners-Lee never envisioned the web he developed twenty years ago to be an end product, it was basic architecture with endless development opportunities.

Vision Part II: Universal Information System
Along with the capability to share information between computers, Berners-Lee envisioned a universal abstract space where information is exchanged. From the very beginning he knew the web will be used for both private and public use, and also understood very well that the exchange of information was not limited to text, but also media such as sound and graphic (Berners-Lee, 1996). This vision holds true today and the web is now a universal information system used globally. Advancements in hardware have also influenced the development and use of the web. It is currently possible to transfer data at forty gigabits per second via fibre optic communication over long distances (AT&T, 2008). Improvements in internet speeds leading to convenience have increased usage of the web globally. These improvements have also further developed Berners-Lee’s vision as more...
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