The author is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium and a principal research scientist at the Laboratory for Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 545 Technology Square, Cambridge MA 02139 U.S.A. http://www.w3.org
Draft response to invitation to publish in IEEE Computer special issue of October 1996. The special issue was I think later abandoned.
The World Wide Web was designed originally as an interactive world of shared information through which people could communicate with each other and with machines. Since its inception in 1989 it has grown initially as a medium for the broadcast of read-only material from heavily loaded corporate servers to the mass of Internet connected consumers. Recent commercial interest its use within the organization under the "Intranet" buzzword takes it into the domain of smaller, closed, groups, in which greater trust allows more interaction. In the future we look toward the web becoming a tool for even smaller groups, families, and personal information systems. Other interesting developments would be the increasingly interactive nature of the interface to the user, and the increasing use of machine-readable information with defined semantics allowing more advanced machine processing of global information, including machine-readable signed assertions.
This paper represents the personal views of the author, not those of the World Wide Web Consortium members, nor of host institutes.
This paper gives an overview of the history, the current state, and possible future directions for the World Wide Web. The Web is simply defined as the universe of global network-accessible information. It is an abstract space with which people can interact, and is currently chiefly populated by interlinked pages of text, images and animations, with occasional sounds, three dimensional worlds, and videos. Its existence marks the end of an era of frustrating and debilitating incompatibilities between computer systems. The explosion of advisability and the potential social and economical impact has not passed unnoticed by a much larger community than has previously used computers. The commercial potential in the system has driven a rapid pace of development of new features, making the maintenance of the global interoperability which the Web brought a continuous task for all concerned. At the same time, it highlights a number of research areas whose solutions will become more and more pressing, which we will only be able to mention in passing in this paper. Let us start, though, as promised, with a mention of the original goals of the project, conceived as it was as an answer to the author's personal need, and the perceived needs of the organization and larger communities of scientists and engineers, and the world in general. (leer más...)
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