Saturday Scenes

Fri 12 August 2011

What a Tangled Web We’ve Woven

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 18:01

On the 6th of August 1991, a website went up at CERN. It wasn’t very fancy and it didn’t use Flash or animations or even blinking effects. It explained what the web was and how people could use it. It was, in fact, the very first website.

On that day, Tim Berners-Lee posted to alt.hypertext about his project.

alt.hypertext | Google Groups

The WorldWideWeb (WWW) project aims to allow links to be made to any information anywhere. The address format includes an access method (=namespace), and for most name spaces a hostname and some sort of path.

We have a prototype hypertext editor for the NeXT, and a browser for line mode terminals which runs on almost anything. These can access files either locally, NFS mounted, or via anonymous FTP. They can also go out using a simple protocol (HTTP) to a server which interprets some other data and returns equivalent hypertext files. For example, we have a server running on our mainframe ( in WWW syntax) which makes all the CERN computer center documentation available. The HTTP protocol allows for a keyword search on an index, which generates a list of matching documents as another virtual hypertext document.

If you’re interested in using the code, mail me. It’s very prototype, but available by anonymous FTP from It’s copyright CERN but free distribution and use is not normally a problem.

And here we are, only twenty years later! Isn’t it amazing?

(I missed a chance there, I should have asked @timberners_lee for a Saturday scene. That would have been awesome.)

On the 6th of August 2011, these wonderful photographs were taken and uploaded onto the web and shared via a web-based messaging system and then collected for this website to share with the world. I can’t help it, even three years in, I still think it’s really neat that we do this!

Here are the photographs:

And here are the fine folks who put them onto the web for us to see:

Tell a friend! If you see friends on twitter take a photograph on a Saturday, invite them to join us. All they have to do is send a message to @Satscenes with the URL.

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