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Weaving The Web [Paperback]

Tim Berners-lee
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 27 2000

Named one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time, Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for one of that century's most important advancements: the world wide web.  Now, this low-profile genius-who never personally profitted from his invention -offers a compelling protrait of his invention.  He reveals the Web's origins and the creation of the now ubiquitous http and www acronyms and shares his views on such critical issues as censorship, privacy, the increasing power of softeware companies , and the need to find the ideal balance between commercial and social forces.  He offers insights into the true nature of the Web, showing readers how to use it to its fullest advantage.  And he presents his own plan for the Web's future, calling for the active support and participation of programmers, computer manufacturers, and social organizations to manage and maintain this valuable resource so that it can remain a powerful force for social change and an outlet for individual creativity.

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From Amazon

If you can read this review (and voice your opinion about his book on Amazon.com), you have Tim Berners-Lee to thank. When you've read his no-nonsense account of how he invented the World Wide Web, you'll want to thank him again, for the sheer coolness of his ideas. One day in 1980, Berners-Lee, an Oxford-trained computer consultant, got a random thought: "Suppose all the information stored on computers everywhere were linked?" So he created a system to give every "page" on a computer a standard address (now called a URL, or Universal Resource Locator), accessible via the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), formatted with the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), and visible with the first browser, which did the trick of linking us all up.

He may be the most self-effacing genius of the computer age, and his egalitarian mind is evident in the names he rejected for his invention: "I thought of Mine of Information, or MOI, but moi in French means 'me,' and that was too egocentric.... The Information Mine (TIM) was even more egocentric!" Also, a mine is a passive repository; the Web is something that grows inexorably from everyone's contributions. Berners-Lee fully credits the colorful characters who helped him get the bobsled of progress going--one colleague times his haircuts to match the solstices--but he's stubbornly independent-minded. His quest is to make the Web "a place where the whim of a human being and the reasoning of a machine coexist in an ideal, powerful mixture."

Hard-core tech types may wish Berners-Lee had gone into deeper detail about the road ahead: the "boon and threat" of XML, free vs. commercial software, VRML 3-D imaging, and such. But he wants everyone in on the debate, so he wrote a brisk book that virtually anyone can understand. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This lucid but impersonal memoir conveys some vital history and intriguing philosophy concerning the Internet, written by the man who invented such ubiquitous terms as URL, HTML and World Wide Web. British-born physicist Berners-Lee is now the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which is based at MIT and sets software standards for the Web. In the late 1980s, he wrote the first programs that set up the Web, thus revolutionizing the Internet by allowing users to hyperlink among the world's computers. It was a quantum conceptual leap, and not everyone instantly understood it (some researchers had to be convinced that posting information was better than writing custom programs to transfer it). The release of graphical browsers such as Netscape Navigator made the Web much easier for home users to navigate and led to the commercialization of the Net. Although Berners-Lee calmly eschewed opportunities to get rich, he doesn't subscribe to the notion, common among pre-Web denizens of the Internet, that commercialization is a pox upon cyberspace. After short takes on current issues like privacy and pornography, Berners-Lee moves into prediction and prescription: the Web needs more intuitive interfaces and integration of tools, "annotation servers" that allow comments to be posted on documents and "social machines" that enable national plebiscites. And while he's no digital utopian, he thinks an Internet that balances decentralization and centralization can contribute to a more harmonious society. Berners-Lee's tone is more lofty than quotidian. He'd rather muse about the benefits of decentralization that his revolutionary technology makes possible than respond to Internet skeptics and critics. But he was very, very right a decade ago, and he's well worth reading now. First serial to Vanity Fair; 7-city author tour; 25-city radio campaign.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"When I first began tinkering with a software program that even gave rise to the idea of the World Wide Web, I named it Enquire, short for Enquire Within upon Everything, a musty old book of Victorian advice I noticed as a child in my parents' house outside" Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
I read this book when it was first published (in 1999) because I was curious to learn more about the World Wide Web (Web) from its inventor. Recently, I re-read it while preparing for several interviews and was surprised to learn that, if anything, Tim Berners-Lee's core concepts are even more relevant now than they were almost 15 years ago. Of special interest to me is this passage early in Chapter 1: "The vision I have for the Web is about anything being potentially connected with anything. It is a vision that provides us with new freedom, and allows us to grow faster than we ever could when we were fettered by the hierarchical classification systems into which we bound ourselves. It leaves the entirety of our previous ways of working as just one tool among many. It leaves our previous fears for the future as one set among many. And it brings the workings of society closer to the workings of our minds...Inventing the World Wide Web involved my growing realization that there was a power in arranging ideas in an unconstrained, weblike way. And that awareness came to me through precisely that kind of process...through the swirling together of influences, influences, and realizations from many sides." These comments suggest precisely the process of integrative thinking that Roger Martin discusses in The Opposable Mind (2007).

I was especially interested in Berners-Lee's concerns about the Web in 1999.
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Berners-Lee was responsible for driving the Web's creation, and his text articulates his passion about the World Wide Web. In short, Weaving the Web is about Berners-Lee's vision that the Web provides new freedoms by letting anything be connected to anything else. This connectedness lets us grow knowledge faster than when labouring under hierarchical classification systems. Throughout the text we learn about key features of the Web's ' and the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) ' birth, including contestations at standards bodies, what drove the Web's licensing conditions, how W3C worked to counteract particularly onerous American legislation, and Berners-Lee's early positions on Web privacy. The text is helpful in outlining W3C's contributions during key regulatory contests in the 1990s and is essential to understand the philosophy the Web's designer meant to weave into his creation. Anyone looking at freedom of speech, privacy, or governance issues will profit from reading this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars From the Mouth of Sir Tim April 2 2004
Pro: A recount of the history of the world wide web from the creator himself. Second pro, buying the book of the guy who gave us this really cool thing, and letting him reap a bit of financial reward. Okay, that's about it. If you are looking for a hard historical account of the web or the Internet's origins, you will only get a little bit of it here. Sir Tim recounts the internal tribulations of working at CERN and developing his hobby project in the first few chapters. After that, it becomes scattered and superficial. For a while he talks about DNS. Then he talks a bit about privacy. Then he wanders into ecommerce. The style is chatty and scant on solid information. Read the book; it's by Sir Tim. But buy another book to get the whole story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars OH, WHAT A WEB WE WEAVE...... Feb. 18 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
While he doesn't enjoy the fame or fortune of a mega mortal such as Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee is more than a major player in the world of the Web - he invented it. Dubbed one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time magazine, Berners-Lee is a visionary who relates how he created the World Wide Web, and what it means.
He describes the Web's true nature, some of which helps us use it to better advantage. In addition, he offers his thinking regarding censorship, privacy, and the titan-like companies that have evolved.
Now director of the World Wide Web Consortium, Berners-Lee has provided a lucid and compelling outline of today and tomorrow.
- Gail Cooke
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Tim Berners-Lee explains how the Internet got started, but how he then conceived of the World Wide Web.
Berners-Lee is a very modest man, and tells a good story that makes you feel you were there.
He then takes us through his plans for the future of the WWW; obviously there are greater commercial forces now at play that might foil his plans, but good luck to him in his endeavours.
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If you work on the web, use it frequently or derive your livelihood from it in some way, this is an outstanding work that presents the history and thinking that went into the development of the web. Tim details the early days of conceptualization of the web followed by the evolution to a research tool and onto the multifaceted web of today used for commerce, entertainment, research, communications and any number of other activities.
He begins with the early days of the web as a project at CERN, the difficulty getting people to conceptualize a worldwide network of hypertext, (how long did it take you to "get it" when you were first introduced to the web?) its tremendous growth and commercialization in recent years, and his vision of the future.
The book discusses the various interests that pull the web in different ways and the possibility of the development of a future "semantic web" in which a variety of standards and technologies combine to enable search engines to respond more intelligently to queries when people search for information on the web.
The case is made that research, commerce, communication, and any number of other activities has its place on the web and all serve to enrich the web as a worldwide network of communication and knowledge. In order to continue to grow and thrive, there must be basic standardized protocols. In addition, no one party should be vertically integrated and grow large enough to be able to control access, technology, and content such that it inhibits the free flow of information and global communication.
It would be tough to find a better figure to pioneer and contribute so profoundly to the development of the Internet and World Wide Web.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at history of web and future by its creator
Since Berners-Lee played such a critical role in developing the web, his view on the history of it is definitely worth reading. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by Ronald Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow...the Web was born on a MAC ?!?
Very insightful and historical view of the Web by the gent that created it. Tim gives credit to the folks that influenced his design for the Web and tells exactly how it came inot... Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by Kaotic1
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read for Internet professionals
Mr. Berners-Lee (in 2004 he became "Sir Tim") created the World Wide Web. He also created the first Web server and the first Web browser, both in 1990. Read more
Published on April 25 2002 by R. Sobkoviak
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside scoop
This book that tells the amazing story of how Tim Berners-Lee conceived of the Web and brought it into being. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2001 by Erika Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Readng For All Netizens
I had the pleasure of reading Tim's book at about the time I was working with a non-profit group which produced a free two-hour webcast of Tim's Q&A. Read more
Published on July 9 2001 by Harvey S. Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for technologists and non-technologists alike!
Written in a conversational style, Weaving the Web provides a first hand account of the people and personalities behind the creation of the WWW. Read more
Published on May 20 2001 by "shigs"
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt, the best explanation of the Web.
The Internet is a communications network, created in 1969, connecting computers to other computers all around the globe. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2001 by Edward Samuels
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