The World Wide Web turns 25 years old this week. This is an important milestone for those of us at /buzzquake given that our livelihoods are tied to it.
Actually, to be completely accurate, the web was invented in March 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, but it wasn’t launched for another two years. But we’ll count this as its silver anniversary.
From its humble beginnings as a network to enable more efficient scientific collaboration, to the present where billions of users globally access nearly a billion websites, the expansion of the web can only be characterized as astounding.
Numbers of users and sites tell only part of the story, however.
The web has forced communist countries, most notably China, to either extend new freedoms to their citizens or be relegated to a permanent second-class status.
The web has fundamentally changed occupational outlooks in dozens of industries. While it claimed jobs in journalism, printing, travel agencies and mortgage lending, it added jobs in web design, web development and programming.
Is the web perfect? No. Berners-Lee said he laments the syntax he chose for URLs (“too complicated”). But it’s not static, either. Thousands of the world’s smartest minds are engaged in an on-going effort to make improvements. In fact, improving the web is an entire industry with regular meetings where changes are debated. It seems likely that better things will come.
Happy birthday, WWW. May you have many more.