Tim Berners-Lee

From iGeek
Jump to: navigation, search

Tim Berners-Lee is credited with "inventing the Internet" (or World Wide Web). That's quite a stretch. What happened is in 1989, he ripped off a few ideas around HyperText that had been around since the 1970's in something called SGML for IBM's documents, and been implemented already in Apple's HyperCard, and created what became HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) -- which was a horrid little implementation of better predecessors, and the W3C was created to slow progress to a snails pace, and make sure all the stupidest ideas got equal time and space with the best and simplest ones. So the "web" was created by a committee that couldn't agree on whether mass genocide is a good or bad thing, with Tim getting a seat at the table because his cluster-fuck of a hack of much better ideas, happened to be the thing people congealed around.

WWW / HTML is the Internet?

One of the things that helped this with the migrations was HTTP, WebPages, or, the "world wide web".

In the 1960's, IBM took an older concept of creating a standard markup language (lexicon) to share large documents among their large customers. Their researchers (Goldfarb, Mosher and Lorie), created their "Generalized Markup Language" (GML) -- whose acronym happened to match their initials. Then in 1980's they made into an ISO standards, and it became "Standard Generalized Markup Language" known as SGML. Apple's Hertzfield took the inspiration and created "HyperCard" (with HyperLinks) in 1985, and Microsoft liked the idea so much. they took it and inspired VisualBasic.

In 1989, A researcher at CERN (Tim Bernes Lee), needed a way for researchers to share documents, and he created a dumbed down version of SGML (so easy that not very computer literate researchers and assistants could use it), and that became HTML. (HyperText Markup Language). It wasn't good, but it was good enough, and it spread so fast in the vacuum of being the only choice, that it was crazy. It happened to be the easiest way to publish and share information (poorly) right as the industry started shifting from private networks to the Internet. So viola. A horrible implementation became a standard. And eventually enough got added back in, that it became a better experience again.

You can read more at:

Of course Tim got all sorts of accolades for borrowing other people's ideas poorly. And to be fair, there was a slight derivation in there: when he ripped off hyper-text (and subsetted the crap out of it), he did have to marry it to a new network protocol (TCP/IP), so he did do some work. But if the guy had a basic understanding of design, logic, code, fonts, formatting, security, or anything else, he likely would have implemented it completely differently. It took until about 2014 and HTML5 to un-screw what he'd screwed up. Though by this time, there was so much conflicting legacy, that it came with other problems.

What Tim really wanted to create was something closer to Wikipedia, than the world-wide-web, he was just so bad at it, that we got something else. (And if Wikipedia was better at what they did, they would have designed a structured/semantic version of wikipedia -- but I'm getting off-topic).