IXD102 – History of the Internet

This week, during Friday’s class, we took a look at the history of the internet.

Vannevar Bush

Dr Vannevar Bush was an American engineer, inventor and science administrator. He headed to the US during WWII, where he emphasised the importance of scientific research to national security and economic well-being, and was chiefly responsible for the movement that led to the creation of the National Science Foundation. During the course of his career, Bush had a string of his own inventions, the one he is most known for being the memex, and analog computers. In 1927, he invented an analog computer that could solve equations of differing variables. In the 1930’s, he invented the memex, which was a microfilm viewer, similar to hypertext. His work inspired many inventors and scientists for the future.

“Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanised so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.” – Vannevar Bush

The Internet & The World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee is a British computer scientist, born in London, 1955. Growing up, he was very interested in trains. He began to question how the trains worked and moved, and soon grew fascinated by the way electronics and technology worked. In college, he made a computer out of an old television set. After finishing university, Lee became a software engineer.

“In those days, there was different information on different computers, but you had to log on to different computers to get at it. Also, sometimes you had to learn a different program on each computer. Often it was just easier to go and ask people when they were having coffee.” – Tim Berners Lee

Soon, Lee realised that it was becoming increasingly difficult with sharing information with the rapidly growing global community. He thought of a way to solve this problem. He realised that information could be shared through hypertext. And in 1989, Lee released his vision of what would be known to become the world wide web, which was made up of as follows:

  • HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. The formatting language of the web.
  • URI: Uniform Resource Identifier. An address that is unique and used to identify each resource on the web, more commonly known as URL.
  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Allows for the retrieval of linked resources across the web.

Web Standards

Born in 1955, Jeffrey Zeldman is an American entrepreneur, web designer, author and speaker on web design. He is the co-founder of both A List Apart Magazine and the Web Standards Project. In 1994, he started playing around with HTML, and he ended up getting a job as a web designer, in an HTML sense. He, along with a team of designers, created this website:

The website was created as an official website for Batman Forever.

The problem faced by Zeldman was that there were no standards for designing websites. You could create any tags that you wanted for designing a website, and you could basically create your own standard for a web page. Zeldman wanted there to be a standard for web pages. He used new tags for different browsers.

In 1995, the term UX Design (User Experience Design) was first used, where designers and web designers began to realise that a good website design was essential to a good user experience, and the two worked side by side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.