The man started with grand ethereal visions; he uses the phrase 'World Wide Web
' to mean 'the universe of information'. His approach to getting there on the other hand was extremely down to earth: in practice, the Web is a simple and practical methodology for document exchange over TCP/IP
, based on a new universal Internet document addressing method, the URL
, a new TCP/IP protocol, HTTP
, and a new document descripton language, HTML
, and it reached the world in the form of a functional range of software tools with libwww
at the core, originally programmed on the NeXT
platform in Objective C
, later ported to C
to work on other platforms.
His team's combination of very high reaching ideals and a very practical approach to implementation, later shared by other Web pioneers, accounts for its enormous success.
I will never forget the sight of him at one of the early WWW conferences, where thousands of people, including the big guys from some of the big software vendors and research labs, and people like Ted Nelson, had come to his workplace, the CERN lab in Geneva, to share the excitement about this new world of interlinked information that once had existed only in his own mind. He was nervous and seemed pretty much overwhelmed by the whole event.
It's exciting to see a man's wildest dream become reality!