This is extracted from a Web page available in the W3C -
World Wide Web Consortium - Web site. Original article can be found
Doug Engelbart prototypes an "oNLine System" (NLS) which does
hypertext browsing editing, email, and so on. He invents the mouse
for this purpose.
(See the Bootstrap
Institute library .)
Ted Nelson coins the word Hypertext in "A File Structure
for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate", 20th
National Conference, New York,
Association for Computing Machinery , 1965.
(See also: Literary
Machines , a
Hypertext and hypermedia: a selected bibliography (1991)
Andy van Dam and others build the Hypertext Editing System and
FRESS in 1967.
While consulting for CERN June-December of 1980, Tim
Berners-Lee writes a notebook program,
"Enquire-Within-Upon-Everything", which allows links to be made
between arbitrary nodes. Each node had a title, a type, and a list
of bidirectional typed links. "Enquire" run on Norsk Data machines
In March 1989 (later redistributed unchanged apart from the date
added in May 1990), the document "Information
Management: A Proposal" . is written by Tim Berners-Lee and
circulated for comments at CERN.
... or the birth of World Wide Web
proposal is recirculated
- Mike Sendall (Tim's manager at CERN) accepts the purchase of a
NeXT cube, and allows Tim to go ahead and write a global hypertext
- Tim starts work on a hypertext GUI browser+editor using the
NeXTStep development environment. (See
description and the first browser
First names for the project were "Mesh", "Mine of Information", and
"Information Mine", but Tim decided on "World Wide
Web" when writing the code in 1990.
original proposal reformulated with encouragement from CN and
ECP divisional management.
Cailliau (ECP) is co-author of the new version and proposal (12 November 1990).
Initial WorldWideWeb program development continues on
the NeXT. This was a WYSIWYG browser/editor with direct in-line
creation of links.
- Technical Student Nicola Pellow (CN) joins
and starts work on the line-mode browser. Bernd Pollermann
(CN) helps get interface to CERNVM "FIND" index running. Tim
Berners-Lee gives a colloquium on hypertext in general.
- December (Christmas)
- Line mode browser and
WorldWideWeb  browser/editor are demonstrable:
access is possible to hypertext files, CERNVM "FIND", and Internet
... the first CERN release for WWW
- Workplan is built for the purposes of ECP division. On 26
February 1991 a
presentation  of the project is made to the ECP/PT
- The line mode browser (WWW) is released to a limited audience
on "PRIAM" Vax, RS6000, Sun4.
- A new work-plan is produced for the CERN CN/AS group. On 17 May
Presentation  is made to the "C5" Committee. This
lead to a general release of WWW on central CERN
- On 12 June 1991 a CERN Computing
Seminar  is given on "Hypertext" and the
- Files are available on the net by FTP, posted on the Internet
alt.hypertext (6, 16, 19th Aug),
comp.mail.multi-media (22nd). Jean-Francois Groff joins
- VMS/HELP and WAIS gateways are installed. The CERN mailing
firstname.lastname@example.org have been created (see the
- A poster and demonstration are presented at the conference
Hypertext'91  in San Antonio, Texas (US). A W3
browser is installed on VM/CMS.
The CERN Computer Newsletter (CNL) 204 announces W3 to
the HEP World!
On December 12 Paul Kunz installs first Web server outside of
Europe, at SLAC.
... the first GUI browsers for X-Windows
- On January 15 the line mode browser release 1.1 is available by
anonymous FTP, and any FTP site becomes a W3 information source
). A presentation is made to AIHEP'92 at La Londe
- Line mode browser release 1.2 is announced on
alt.hypertext, comp.infosystems, comp.mail.multi-media, cern.sting,
comp.archives.admin newsgroups, and various mailing
- On 29th April the Finnish "Erwise" GUI client for
X is released with
comments  made by Tim Berners-Lee.
- Pei Wei's "Viola" GUI browser for X test version
is available on May 15 (see
review  made by Tim). Technical Student Carl Barker (ECP) joins the
- Presentation and demo at HEPVM (Lyon (FR)). People at FNAL
(Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US)), NIKHEF (Nationaal
Instituut voor Kern- en Hoge Energie Fysika, (NL)), DESY (Deutsches
Elektronen Synchrotron, Hamburg, (DE)) join the project with WWW
- Distribution of WWW (including Viola) is made
through the "CERN Program Library" (CernLib) standard procedure.
The WWW library code ported to DECnet.
- Plenary session demonstration to the HEP community at CHEP'92
in Annecy (FR).
- Look at a snapshot of the
"World Wide Web" Project Home page  at
that time, including the list of all 26 reasonably reliable
Web servers  (NCSA's having just been added, but no
sign of Mosaic yet).
... the birth of NCSA Mosaic
- By now, Midas (Tony Johnson, SLAC),
Erwise (HUT), and Viola (Pei Wei, O'Reilly
Associates) browsers are available for X; a CERN Mac browser (ECP)
is released as alpha. There are around 50 known
- NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications,
University of Illinois (US)) releases the first alpha version of
Marc Andreessen's "Mosaic for X". Another
"computing seminar" is given at CERN
- WWW (Port 80
HTTP) traffic measures 0.1% of NSF
backbone traffic. WWW is presented at "Online Publishing
- April 30: declaration by CERN's directors that WWW technology
would be freely usable by anyone, with no fees being payable to
- Ari Luotonen (ECP) joins the project at CERN. He implements
access authorisation, proceeds to re-write the CERN
- O'Reilly hosts the first WWW Wizards Workshop in
Cambridge Mass. (US).
- WWW (Port 80
HTTP) traffic measures 1% of NSF
backbone traffic. NCSA releases working versions of
Mosaic browser for all common platforms: X, PC/Windows and
- Over 200 known
HTTP servers. The European
Commission, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and CERN start
the first Web-based project of the European Union (DG XIII):
WISE, using the Web for dissemination of technological
information to Europe's less favoured regions.
- WWW receives IMA award. John Markov writes a page and a half on
WWW and Mosaic in "The New York Times" (US) business
section. "The Guardian" (UK) publishes a page on WWW, "The
Economist" (UK) analyses the Internet and WWW.
Robert Cailliau gets go-ahead from CERN management to organise the
First International WWW Conference at CERN.
... birth of Netscape, CERN ends up WWW
- O'Reilly, Spry, etc., announce "Internet in a box"
product to bring the Web into homes.
- Marc Andreessen and colleagues leave NCSA to form "Mosaic
Communications Corp." (now Netscape).
- On May 25-27 the First
International WWW Conference , takes place at CERN,
Geneva, and is heavily oversubscribed (800 apply, 400 allowed in):
the "Woodstock of the Web" (VRML is conceived
- M. Bangemann produces a report for the European
Commission Information Superhighway plan. Over 1500 servers
are now registered and the load on the first Web server
info.cern.ch) is 1000 times what it has been 3 years
- The MIT/CERN agreement to start the W3
Organisation is announced by M. Bangemann in Boston (press
release in Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, etc.)
- Founding of the IW3C2: the International WWW Conference
Committee, in Boston, by NCSA and CERN.
- The European Commission and CERN propose the
WebCore project for development of the Web core technology
- The second International WWW Conference, "Mosaic and the
Web", takes place in Chicago and it is again heavily
oversubscribed (2000 apply, 1300 allowed in).
- On December 14 the first W3
Consortium  Meeting takes place at M.I.T. in
- On December 15 there is the first meeting with European
Industry and the European Consortium branch, at the European
- On December 16 CERN Council approves unanimously the
construction of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) accelerator, CERN's
next machine and competitor to the US' already defunct SSC
(Superconducting Supercollider). Stringent budget conditions are
however imposed. CERN thus decides not to continue WWW development,
and in concertation with the European Commission and INRIA (the Institut National pour la
Recherche en Informatique et Automatique, FR) transfers the
WebCore project to INRIA.
- the Web is the main reason for the theme of the G7 meeting
hosted by the European Commission in the European
Parliament buildings in Brussels (BE).
- CERN holds a two-day seminar for the
European Media (press, radio, TV) , attended by 250
reporters, to show WWW. It is demonstrated on 60 machines, with 30
pupils from the local International High School helping the
reporters "surf the Web".
- The third International WWW Conference,
"Tools and Applications" , is hosted by the
in Darmstadt (DE)
- Founding of the Web Society in Graz (AT), by the
Technical University of Graz (home of Hyper-G), CERN, the
University of Minnesota (home of Gopher) and INRIA.
If you want to read more...
References and Links
 Bootstrap Institute library (1960s)
 Association for Computing Machinery (1965)
 Literary Machines (1960s)
 Hypertext and hypermedia: a selected bibliography
 "Information Management: A Proposal" (1989)
 "The WorldWideWeb browser" and "screenshot" in 1990
 "What were the first WWW browsers? (1990)
 CERN Presentation of the project (26 February 1991)
 CERN Presentation to "C5" (17 May 1991)
 CERN Computing Seminar on WWW (12 June 1991)
www-talk 1991 mailing list
 Hypertext'91 Conference
 News for FTP access (1992)
 Tim's report on "Erwise" (first GUI client
for X) (1992)
 Tim's report on "Viola" (GUI browser for X)
"World Wide Web" Project Home page (November
 List of the 26 Web servers in November 1992
 First International WWW Conference (1994)
 The World Wide Web Consortium: Prospectus
 CERN World-Wide Web Days for the European Media
 third International WWW Conference ("Tools and
 List of Internet Histories (from ISOC)
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