The World Wide Web is 20 years old today
20 years ago today, on April 30 1993, CERN contributed the technologies underpinning the World Wide Web to the royalty-free public domain. These simple technologies — the humble URL, HTTP, and HTML — were developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in the early ’90s, but it wasn’t until they were open-sourced that the WWW actually became the web. If CERN had decided otherwise, much of what you consider to be the internet probably wouldn’t exist, including Facebook, Steam, and the humble website that you’re reading right now.
In 1989 and 1990, Berners-Lee began toying with the idea of an information management system, where hypertext pages (records) are linked together via hyperlinks. This might seem like an incredibly obvious concept now, but the web was really the first system to achieve this kind of interlinking on a broad scale. Prior to hypertext, all that really existed was searchable databases, with no way to jump between pages and records. Imagine Wikipedia without links, or ExtremeTech without links, where you have to type in the exact name/location every page, or find the exact search term every time you want to visit a page. To celebrate the WWW’s 20th birthday, CERN has re-released Berners-Lee’s original website, at its original address: info.cern.ch .