Happy 15th birthday, World Wide Web. What next?

201 created IT Blogwatch: in which we help Sir Tim Berners-Lee celebrate the 15th birthday of the Web; and discover that -- like the Queen -- it has more than one per year. Not to mention explaining Hollywood...

Aunty Beeb has this:

Exactly 15 years ago the directors at the lab where the web was first developed signed a document which said the technology could be used by anyone free of charge. That decision was instrumental in making the web truly world wide. BBC News talks to ... Sir Tim Berners-Lee ... about [his] hopes for the future of the web ... I am extremely optimistic. The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there ... The experience of international collaboration continues. Also the spirit that really we have only started to explore the possibilities ... In a hundred years, 15 years will seem to be just the infancy of the web, when the semantic web wasn't even completely deployed. You couldn't even find all the data in the world immediately at your fingertips ... people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance. My hope is that those will produce ... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet. more
Jason Kolb knows a little about works in progress:
The Web is still in its infancy. It sounds like an absurd claim, except that the person making it is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who invented the Web in the first place. I happen to agree with him ... I've had the pleasure of speaking with Tim on a few occasions and he is patiently waiting for everyone to get over the love-fest with what they currently know as the Web so we can focus on moving things forward and innovating again. The end-game here, and what Tim has had in mind from the beginning, amounts to a completely new paradigm in software. It's about creating an Internet-wide mesh of data which a given software application can use as easily as its own database. Fortunately, the Web is hurtling towards adolescence. SPARQL is the glue that makes this global data mesh usable, and it was just ratified this year. The Web's voice just cracked. more
Attila Gárdos explains:
The present web (call it web 1.0 or web 2.0) represents information using natural language (English, Hungarian, …), graphics, multimedia, page layout which we humans can process easily. While using the internet, different tasks require to combine data on the Web ... Humans combine these information easily even if different terminology's are used! But machines are ignorant! Partial information is unusable; it is difficult to make sense from e.g., an image; drawing analogies automatically is difficult; it is also difficult to combine information automatically ... How to combine these different XML hierarchies? ... The Semantic Web provides technologies to make such integration possible! For example: an abstract model for the relational graphs: RDF (with different “serializations” in XML or text); extract RDF information from XML data: GRDDL; a query language adapted for the relational graphs: SPARQL; characterize the relationships, categorize resources: RDFS, OWL, SKOS, Rules (applications may choose among the different technologies); reuse of existing “ontologies” that others have produced. more
Ivan Pope reminisces:
The 15th anniversary of the placing of http/html into the public domain has arrived in the twinkling of an eye. Bill Thompson has the actual document that did the deed ... I remember this time well. I reported it for my new magazine, The World Wide Web Newsletter. The first issue of 3W (as it came to be known) was published in the autumn of that year ... The editorial for the first issue stated: "This Word Wide Web demands constant attention. It is the mission of the World Wide Web Newsletter to pay that attention, to keep tabs on the fast changing inter and outer net that comprises this new continent. This newsletter is aimed as much at those on the outside looking in as those on the inside looking, well, looking. The Internet is in flux - we have little idea what tools and resources next year will bring, let alone the next five or ten. This is indeed a new continent, and I hope you will come along and explore." more
Howard Lindzon is long on WWW:
One thing I love about the web is how early we still are in the development. If you read this blog you are not a land baron or stock guru or industrial giant (if you are, please don’t admit it here), but you may be a successful web entrpreneur and you sure as hell COULD BE! That’s because the costs of entry drop every day and the market opportunity increases. It’s good to see that the World Wide Web’s inventor Berners-Lee (not Al Gore) agrees with me. more
Slashdotter zappepcs plays misty:
I remember when Reagan was shot. I remember teacher strikes in the 70's. I remember Kent State. I remember the first time I ever saw Mosaic. Too old for GenX, tool old for babyboomer. I can tell you this: I never thought the wall would fall and I never thought I'd read Russian websites/bloggs like they were around the corner or in the next town. The Internet, more specifically the WWW *HAS* flattened the world in that respect. Imagine what "Reporters Without Borders" would be without it? It is hard now for people to imagine the world without it. Mr Lee should continue to receive high recognition for what he and CERN have given us. more
Nick Carr turns on and tunes in (but doesn't drop out):
The inventor of LSD, Albert Hofmann, has joined the great Peter Max painting in the sky, but the dreams he spawned live on ... Might I just point out here that both LSD and the Web were invented in Switzerland? ... "Don't be so gloomy," Harry Lime tells Holly Martins in the film of Greene's The Third Man. "After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." more
But Jack Schofield snorts with derision:
This is not the first time the BBC has celebrated the Web's 15th birthday. The last time it did it was in August 2006, with How the web went world wide. This said: One key date is 6 August 1991 -- the day on which links to the fledgling computer code for the www were put on the alt.hypertext discussion group so others could download it and play with it. We look forward to helping the BBC celebrate more Web's 15th birthday stories in the future. more
And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.


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