The Web at 25. Will someone call it a cab?

The World Wide Web  is 25 years old.  In People terms it is someone who has been through those awkward teenage years, made it past  university with a great big loan, has a  9 -5 Monday to Friday job. But on the weekend goes out, gets very drunk, blows all its money in the casino, ends up in a nightclub, has a one night stand then wakes up the next morning with a banging headache, a gut full of regrets and cheap kebabs.


'The Prodigy Smack my Bitch up' -  The Web at 25? NSFW

Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web while at CERN as a means for researchers to share their work.   Berners-Lee didn't invent the web and the components it is made up of  from scratch but it builds on many years of research and development.  Shortly after the Second world war and the invention of the digital computer scientists began to think how to organise, collate and work with large amounts of data. In 1968 Douglas Engelbart gave what is now known as The mother of all Demos . In the 1980s The Department of Computing at University of Southampton developed Microcosm Hypermedia  . British Telecom had a patent and tried to claim that all web pages that used hyperlinks would have had to pay them a royalty. glad that one didn't get through, stupid B.T.

Fortunately for the world, CERN and Berners-Lee aren't like B.T  and silicon valley start-up blood suckers wanting to make a quick buck without any real idea of what they are doing.  The World Wide Web grew massively for many reasons not least because in 1993 CERN gave it away freely. But it also came at the right time.  The internet had become mature enough to support the communication of computers and  to join networks on a large scale. Around that time intel launched the pentium processors and microsoft  released Windows 95. These put powerful,relatively inexpensive computers easy to use computers on to many desks in offices, universities, schools and private homes.  The next logical step was make information easily accessible and navigable.

Its not all been plain sailing for the  Web  though.  The web is a powerful tool, corporations and governments want to take  control and twist it for their own nefarious purposes.  It can be used to spread child pornography, rascism and hate. Some people want to do nothing more with it than make money without a care for the consequences.

But it can also be a powerful force for good. Social media connects people together, friendships blossom,it can be used for education, campaigning and understanding.

Tim Berners-Lee and other  recognises that the Web has changed the world massively mostly for good but there is always the danger that it could go wrong in the next twenty five years so needs protecting and support. This is the purpose of the Web We Want Campaign. Back in May I was lucky to be invited to the kick off event at the Southbank Centre (Thanks Mar )  It was a great morning with Tim and Jude Kelly discussing the history of the web,its origins  and the problems that it faces in the next 25 years,followed by a brainstorm session of ideas for the festival.

The full festival launches September 1st it will be 8 months running through to May 2015 , including three dedicated weekends.

Take part in it, go to the events at the Southbank centre,  learn to code not just for the sake of it but to understand the Web and how it shapes and influences the world we live in.

Tim Berners-Lee Web Developer photo
Just a Web Developer, No big deal





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