12 March 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal envisioning a unifying structure for linking information across different computers using hypertext, which by 1991 had been developed and became known as the World Wide Web. The day was marked by three celebratory events around the world, all attended by Tim: at CERN in Switzerland, at the Science Museum in London, and in Lagos, Nigeria.
The first event at CERN was a series of three discussions with leading players in the development of the web.
The first discussion was amongst early developers. With TBL were:
- Jean-François Groff, who helped Tim develop the web technology;
- Robert Cailliau, a Belgian informatics engineer who proposed a hypertext system for CERN and collaborated with Tim on the development of the web; and
- Lou Montulli, author of the Lynx browser, founding engineer at Netscape, best known as the creator of web cookies, but also responsible for several foundational web technologies and standards.
They were joined by Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, and a leading commentator and analyst on the state of the web.
TBL then engaged in conversation with Bruno Giussani, the Global Curator of the TED conferences, on how to fix the web before flying off to London for the second event.
The final discussion at CERN continued looking at the problems the web faces.
The full video of the event (at 2 hr 27 min) is worth watching by anyone concerned with understanding the web, its current challenges and how they might be addressed.