Tim Berners-Lee: The man who created the Web

By Tonye Bakare   |   08 June 2016   |   1:40 pm
Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee

If you are reading this article on the internet, you may want to say ‘thank you’ to Tim Berners-Lee, the man who first mooted the idea of World Wide Web.

Born Timothy John Berners-Lee on June 8, 1955, he created the World Wide Web while working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as a tool for scientists.

His idea was initially limited to hypertext, which he and his partner, Robert Cailliau, described as “a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will,” on November 12, 1990.

Since when he proposed the idea and now, the Web has grown to become, arguably the most powerful platform for sharing of information and human connectivity on the Internet (note that there is a difference between the Internet and World Wide Web).

Here some fun facts worth knowing about the inventor:

He thought the invention was an “accident of fate”
I know you marvel at the wonder that the Web is, but Berners-Lee did not think much of his creation as such. He thought he was just at the right place at the right time. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I happened to have the right combination of background,” he said in a 1997 interview with TIME.

Error 404 is your evil brother
That annoying error 404 page not found that you see every now and then should not get you riled more than it should. “The 404 or Not Found error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard response code, in computer network communications, to indicate that the client was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested.” As nasty as this could be, Berners-Lee said “that this dangling-link thing may be a problem, but you have to accept it.”

He toyed with the idea of creating a browser
Being the inventor of the Web, he should have a created browser, right? Well, he did not. He actually wanted to create one but was deterred by the fact that his browser may have to compete with other browsers in use.

His family helped design the first commercially available computer
Berners-Lee’s parents helped design the Ferranti Mark I, also known as the Manchester Electronic Computer, the world’s first commercially available computer. He ascribed this to the high level of love for mathematics in his family.

He developed HTML, HTTP and URL
He did not just create the World Wide Web. He, along with his colleague, also gave the world three cardinal tools on which the Web runs: the language for encoding documents (HTML, hypertext markup language); the system for linking documents (HTTP, hypertext transfer protocol); and the www.whatever system for addressing documents (URL, universal resource locator).

He is rich, but not that rich
According to www.therichest.com, Berners-Lee’s net worth is $50 million. Compared that to what tech billionaires such as Bill Gates, Mike Zuckerberg and Marc Andreessen are worth.

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