History of the Intertubes…err Internet

So last week was a brief introduction to the the history of the internet. Having worked in web development almost all of my professional life, you kinda tend to take for granted the different technologies that you work with. You put the files in the web server, and if you get your code right, it just works.

There is a lot more to this though and a there’s lot of engineering involved just to get that script working, so looking at the basics and how everything started was very refreshing.

Where to start, well basically, the Internet started with ideas, problems and solutions to problems. Leonard Kleinrock at MIT published a paper about “packet switching” which basically is repackaging data in smaller manageable blocks called “packets”. This would lead to the development of ARPANET, the first package-switched network which was a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

ARPANET would then start the use of electronic mails or e-mails in their network and the term “Internet” starts getting used. A problem though again would arise with the emergence of different networks so a more standard way of communicating was needed and so TCP/IP was born.

In 1990, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN, would start coining the term “World Wide Web” for the hypertext context he invented that would work in the network environment. HTTP would be the foundation for the modern websites we have today.

In a span of a decade there will be a lot of technologies created in terms of browsers, scripting, and search engines. In this same timeframe we would see the rise and fall of the dot-com bubble in 2001.

2004 will see the rise of social networks such as Facebook, and Tim O’Reilly will introduce the concept of the Web 2.0 giving emphasis on the user experience and on collaboration.

Today, the Internet can make or break governments, launch revolutions, and propel people from rags to riches. I believe it is the single most important invention so far during my lifetime.

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