Internet Guide Logo

WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project

Last Edit: 03/08/17

WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project, is the title of a paper written by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, and sent to P. Innocenti, G. Kellner and D.O. Williams. In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper titled "a large hypertext database with typed links", which was a proposal to build a hypertext document system for CERN researchers. This proposal intrigued Berners-Lee's boss Mike Sendall, but failed to receive funding from CERN. Tim Berners-Lee asked for assistance from Robert Caillau to write a more detailed and precise proposal that would succeed where his previous proposal had failed. In 1990, the collaboration of Berners-Lee and Cailliau resulted in the publishing of the document: "WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project"; the image, shown below, displays the introduction to this proposal.

Shows the introduction to the proposal for the World Wide Web, that was sent to members of CERN such as David Williams and others people, such as: P. Innocenti and G. Kellner

The proposal was sent to eleven people, the most prominent of whom was David Owen Williams: the leader of the Computing and Networks (CERN) Division.

The proposal was successful, and Berners-Lee and Cailliau received the 'green light' from CERN to begin the development of the World Wide Web. By the end of 1990, Berners-Lee and Cailliau had developed all the software systems needed to make the World Wide Web a 'live' service on the Internet. The World Wide Web was available as a public service on the Internet from the 6th of August, 1991. By the mid 1990's, the World Wide Web had become the Internet's most popular service.

However, it should be noted that the system proposed in "WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project" did discuss the applicability of the software system to CERN's environment. Whether Berners-Lee foresaw his hypertext system becoming a global system for 'everyone', rather than one targeted at CERN and academic researchers, is debatable. The World Wide Web, to begin with, does appear to have been system designed for CERN scientists and the HEP community, who could use it to share and access: reports, notes, databases, and documentation.