Obviously, without ARPANET/Internet, the Web would not have been created more than 20 years later.
The first two nodes of what would become the ARPANET were interconnected between Leonard Kleinrock's Network Measurement Center at the UCLA's School of Engineering and Applied Science and Douglas Engelbart's NLS system at SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, on 29 October 1969
I highlighted Engelbart because of his contribution to what became a fundamental aspect of the Web. It's interesting that his early hypertext system participated in the beginnings of what became the Internet.
While we may use terms such as "Internet" and "Web" interchangeably, they are technically two different things.
Though many people used e-mail and other network applications over the Internet prior to 1990, the "program" that led to the masses being interested in the Internet was the World Wide Web, which lists its birthday as August 23, 1991. But, of course, even that was not enough, since early Web access was through text-only means. So some chaps at the NCSA developed the Mosaic graphical Web browser around 1993. Eventually, they left Illinois for Silicon Valley and started Netscape. In 1995, when Microsoft released Windows 95, a lot of homeowners bought PCs to access the Internet. And so on.
Since I abhor Word docs, PDF files, and printers, and since I am most interested in Web-based knowledge management systems where content is created with simple markup languages, like Textile and Markdown, which get rendered into HTML and displayed well on all devices, I'd like to make a small mention about some of the past influences on my favorite technologies.
The 1990-1991 creation of the Web (HTTP and HTML) by Tim Berners-Lee traces its roots to the hypertext systems developed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Many of these systems were not network-enabled applications. They were stand-alone programs. The concepts of the early systems, such as Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu built in the 1960s, influenced the creation of later systems, such as Apple's HyperCard, created in the late 1980s. It all led to the creation of a lightweight, network-aware hypertext system called the Web.
- HTTP = Hypertext Transfer Protocol
- HTML = HyperText Markup Language
An interesting pre-Web book to read, if you can find it, was published in 1990, titled HyperText and HyperMedia by Jakob Nielsen.
But the inspiration for some of this may go back even further.
In 1945, The Atlantic Monthly published an article titled As We May Think, written by Vannevar Bush. He named his proposed system memex, which sort of meant "memory extender."
Excerpts from Vannevar's 1945 article:
Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library.
It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, "memex" will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.
It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk.
Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm ready for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place. Business correspondence takes the same path. And there is provision for direct entry. On the top of the memex is a transparent platen. On this are placed longhand notes, photographs, memoranda, all sorts of things. When one is in place, the depression of a lever causes it to be photographed onto the next blank space in a section ~_ the memex film, dry photography being employed.
The Encyclopedia Britannica could be reduced to the volume of a matchbox. A library of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a desk. If the human race has produced since the invention of movable type a total record, in the form of magazines, newspapers, books, tracts, advertising blurbs, correspondence, having a volume corresponding to a billion books, the whole affair, assembled and compressed, could be lugged off in a moving van.
From the Wikipedia page about Vannevar's memex idea:
The concept of the memex influenced the development of early hypertext systems (eventually leading to the creation of the World Wide Web) and personal knowledge base software.
Douglas Engelbart made many significant contributions to computer science, although he may be best known for helping to invent the computer mouse. Engelbart was inspired by Vannevar's 1945 article. In the early 1960s, Engelbart wrote an article titled Augmenting Human Intellect - A Conceptual Framework. In the 1960s, he helped build a hypertext system called NLS, which meant "oN-Line System."
In December of , Engelbart demonstrated a 'hypertext' (meaning editing) interface to the public for the first time, in what has come to be known as The Mother of All Demos.
The word processor had been born.
The live demonstration featured the introduction of a system called NLS which included one of the earliest computer mice as well as of video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor.
YouTube - The Mother of All Demos, presented by Douglas Engelbart - December 9, 1968 - 1 hr and 40 min
"I don't know why we call it a mouse. It started that way, and we never did change it." - Doug Engelbart, December 1968
Here's a table from the 1990 book HyperText and HyperMedia :
- 1945 Vannevar Bush proposes Memex
- 1965 Ted Nelson coins the word "hypertext"
- 1967 The Hypertext Editing System and FRESS, Brown University, Andy van Dam et al.
- 1968 Doug Engelbart demo of NLS system at FJCC
- 1975 ZOG (now KMS): Carnegie Mellon University
- 1978 Aspen Movie Map, the first hypermedia videodisk, Andy Lippman, MIT Architecture Machine Group
- 1984 Filevision from Telos; limited hypermedia database widely available from Macintosh
- 1985 Symbolics Document Examiner, Janet Walker
- 1985 Intermedia, Brown University, Norman Meyrowitz
- 1986 OWL introduces Guide, first widely available hypertext
- 1987 Apple introduces HyperCard, Bill Atkinson
- 1987 Hypertext'87 Workshop, North Carolina