Vannevar Bush writes As We May Think for the July issue of The Atlantic Monthly suggesting a system of automated information access in which all materials are "associatively indexed".
Project Xanadu is initiated by Ted Nelson with the purpose of creating a "docuverse" in which all written documents are interconnected and cross-referenced.
Nelson, who is part genius and part mad scientist, coins the terms hypertext and hypermedia.
Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), writes Enquire-Within-Upon-Everything (ENQUIRE), a program allowing the hyper linking of files stored on multiple computers in a network.
Berners-Lee proposed a global hypertext project that would connect an infinite number of digital documents around the world.
Berners-Lee develops the first browser, a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) hypertext reader. The World Wide Web as Berners-Lee decided to call it, is launched at CERN headquarters on a NeXT computer, but is only accessible to those who have access to the CERN system.
The World Wide Web hits the Internet and the first web files appear at alt.hypertext, comp.sys.next, comp.txt.sgml, and comp.mail.multi-media. Java is brewed at Sun Microsystems. Though this programming language was originally developed for the purpose of creating embedded applications, in 1994 Sun shifted Java to the Web where it revolutionized the way Web sites are designed.
The phrase Surfing the Internet is coined by Jean Amour Polly. PointCast Inc begins to offer its news and information service to corporate networks. The service used push technology to transmit specific information to end-users. Then in 1996 push technology will become a key driver in Internet development.
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NASA) releases Mosaic, the first graphical Web Browser. Mosaic was written by Marc Andreessen, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign undergraduate, who as legend has it, sustained himself on Skittles and Mountain Dew while writing it. The New York Times and The Economist begin to announce the appearance of the World Wide Web. Traffic on the Web grows by 341,634%.
Andreessen partners with Jim Clark, founder and former chair of the board at Silicon Graphics, to create Netscape Communications Corp. The Netscape Navigator 1.0 browser is released the same year. First International World Wide Web Conference is held in Geneva, Switzerland at CERN. Pizza Hut initiates an online ordering system. Jerry Yang and David Filo, doctoral candidates at Stanford University, create a guide to Internet Sites and by 1998, this guide Yahoo! is the most visited site on the Web. Mark Pesce and Tony Parisi create Labyrinthe, a 3-D Web interface and within the year, Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) programming language supporting graphical animation of virtual spaces is created.
America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, and other online companies begin to offer access to the Web. Netscape goes public, serving up the 3rd largest initial public stock offering ever and launching a technology boom that has yet to end. Microsoft, downplaying the importance of the WWW, decides to create its own online service, the Microsoft Network (MSN). However, the service fails to live up to expectations and at year's end Bill Gates holds a summit to disclose Microsoft's future plans for the Web.
Microsoft releases Microsoft Internet Explorer and the "browser wars" begin. The Communications Decency Act becomes law in an attempt to limit the distribution of obscene and pornographic materials on the Web.
1997 - 1999
Netscape releases the Communicator Suite of Internet products with Communicator including a Web Browser, E-Mail application, newsgroup reader, web page editor, and a conferencing application. Microsoft counters with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 which includes the Active Desktop, making the Web an integrated part of the Windows operating system. The Department of Justice takes Microsoft to court over Internet Explorer, claiming Microsoft had violated the terms of a 1994 consent decree by integrating Internet Explorer into the Windows 95 operating system. Portals become the range on the Web with Yahoo!, Netscape, and Excite offering the most popular. Netscape announces its Navigator and Communicator products are available as free downloads on the Internet. Microsoft counters with free downloads of it's browser programs. The Web is more popular than ever with 82% of respondents to a poll by the Georgia Tech Research Corp claiming the Web is an indispensable technology. December 1999 the Department of Justice announces its decision regarding Microsoft's Operating System and Browser integration.
January 2000 Bill Gates announces his resignation as CEO and CFO of Microsoft and his return to software development.