At CERN if researchers wanted to share documents they had to organize and format them so that they would be compatible with the main CERN computing system. This was a problem since the researchers contributing to the work going on at CERN were located around the world and used many different kinds of computers and software. Many researchers were upset and sometimes unwilling to expend the extra effort to make their work conform to the CERN system. Berners-Lee thought, ” it would be so much easier if everybody asking me questions all the time could just read my database, and it would be so much nicer if I could find out what these guys are doing by jumping into a similar database of information for them” (Wright, 66). He decided that a simple system with simple rules that would be acceptable to all was needed. The new system would need to be easy and decentralized so that anyone anywhere could share informationwithout having to go to a centralized authority.
In 1989, Berners-Lee submitted a proposal at CERN to develop an information system that would create a web of information. Initially, his proposal received no reply, but he began working on his idea anyway. In 1990, he wrote the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)—the language computers would use to communicate hypertext documents over the Internet and designed a scheme to give documents addresses on the Internet. Berners-Lee called this address a Universal Resource Identifier (URI). (This is now usually known as a URL—Uniform Resource Locator.) By the end of the year he had also written a client program (browser) to retrieve and view hypertext documents. He called this client “WorldWideWeb.” Hypertext pages were formatted using the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that Berners-Lee had written. He also wrote the first web server. A web server is the software that stores web pages on a computer and makes them available to be accessed by others. Berners-Lee set up the first web server known as “info.cern.ch.” at CERN.