Yesterday, the world-wide web turned 21. That is not so say the internet turned 21. The internet was developed in the ‘60s. I’m talking about the Web as we know it: web pages, “www”, visual interface, and hyperlinks. It was developed as a side project* by Tim Berners-Lee while he was working at CERN. As it was developed in Switzerland, it’s probably not going to go buy the Solutions Cubed brew of choice and local favorite: Sierra Nevada, but I hope it does celebrate in style. Allow me some space as I get all old-fogey engineer.
I still remember the first time I saw the “web”. It was 1993, so the web was all of 1 year old. My business partner (he was just a college buddy at the time) took my into the Unix Lab in the EE Department at CSU Chico. He loaded something up called Mosaic. We surfed the web for a bit. I’m not sure what we surfed to or looked at. I am sure we soon grew bored and went and had some Sierra Nevada. I would never have thought how I would do engineering would change so dramatically over the next 20 years. We used to have to look up everything in paper data books and hopefully you could get your hands on them. Now it’s all al click away. All of the web-based businesses we use such as DigiKey and Advanced Circuits, would not exist as they do now without the web. I am glad that Time Berners-Lee decided to ask for help from his initial audience in populating the web.
*What is the deal with “side-projects” rocking the world. I am a big fan of Google’s efforts – especially Google Earth. And a bunch of how the Bell Labs was run was basically with a bunch of side projects. But I have to figure that Tim Berners-Lee wins the award for “most-useful side-project of all time”. Almost all of what makes the present day so cool is directly built on the web: Netflix, Amazon, Robot Videos, and all the rest. I wonder what Berners-Lee was thinking about as the ceiling for his invention when he was working on it? Certainly not this.