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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
Format:Paperback
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Wow...the Web was born on a MAC ?!? July 14 2002
By Kaotic1
Format:Paperback
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 being in the mid 90's. Amazing to think he used a NEXT computer from Steve Job's old company to start the Web @ CERN.
A must read for anyone who is intrested in Web history and doesn't settle for the common place acceptance of what the Web is today, but want's to learn of it's origins. Are you a grandma who loves checking email from her distant relatives and doesn't care how yahooappears in front of you when you type the URL? Then this book isn't for you. This book is for techies like myself that are tired of every John, Dick and Tom who use the "www" acronym and have no idea of what the heck they are talking about. How can you fully understand a technology if you don't know where it came from.
This book is a litle dry (hence 4 stars) but will keep the intrest of any knowledgable Unix/dot.com geek, even if you have ADD. =)
Much love to the folks @ CERN and to Tim...even though we evolve into new entities, lets not forget how or when we first started this wonderful Web process.
Kevin
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By "shigs"
Format:Paperback
Written in a conversational style, Weaving the Web provides a first hand account of the people and personalities behind the creation of the WWW. In addition to Berners-Lee's account of how the web was created, he provides his thought-provoking vision of the "web of the future." The book provides an interesting insight into Berners-Lee, himself. It is interesting to understand his motivations in creating the WWW and how he and others interacted during the emergence of this new medium - such as those at the University of Illinois (Marc Andreesen etc..).
Another reason why this book so relevant is the fact that the events described are in the "so-recent" past that many of us can think clearly back when the WWW was not such a pervasive influence in our lives.
From a "non-technical perspective," I enjoyed learning about Berners-Lee positions on such controversial issues as the Microsoft Anti-trust case, Censorship on the Web, the commercialization of the web and many other issues. This book provides and excellent opportunity for the founder of the web to address many issues that touch our every day lives.
From a technological perspective, Berners-Lee challenges technologists to think about the implications of the technologies that they create and the work that they do. He challenges us to take more a "macro" perspective and about the web and it's potential. He provides ideas for many new technologies that could benefit the web well into the future. He provides arguments in support of the "open-source" movement as well as critiques of the current patent system.
The book uses technical terms but the author provides a Glossary that makes the book accessible to technicians and non-technicians alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt, the best explanation of the Web. Jan. 16 2001
Format:Paperback
The Internet is a communications network, created in 1969, connecting computers to other computers all around the globe. The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is nothing but a set of protocols for allowing computer users to share information on that network. It was invented and launched in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee, who practically single-handedly imagined it, developed it, and promoted it, all to foster the free interchange of information over a network connecting previously incompatible computers and hardware. As obvious as it seems in hindsight, it was only through considerable perseverance that the system came into being at all.
For the people who advocate a truly open information system, Berners-Lee is a modern hero. While Marc Andreessen and James Clark jumped into the web business and made a fortune with Netscape Navigator, and while Bill Gates made another fortune by leapfrogging Netscape into the web browser business, Tim Berners-Lee stands pretty much alone in his unselfish devotion to the principle rather than the almighty dollar.
Weaving the Web is Berners-Lee's personal account of the World Wide Web. It is, without a doubt, the best explanation of what the Web is and how it came to be. With the help of Mark Fischetti, it is written in a straightforward style that can be understood even by people who have no technical knowledge of computers. It is also an inspiration for anyone who has ever imagined that ideas alone can change the world. If you want to read a vision of the future, and how one man's vision has changed the present, would you trust someone like Bill Gates, or would you trust someone like Tim Berners-Lee? My vote is for Berners-Lee.
-Edward Samuels, author of The Illustrated Story of Copyright
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why, "if we have the individual will, we can collectively make...
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. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Robert Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Key to understanding conflicts around privacy, property, sharing...
Berners-Lee was responsible for driving the Web's creation, and his text articulates his passion about the World Wide Web. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2011 by Christopher Parsons
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Mouth of Sir Tim
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... Read more
Published on April 2 2004 by Robert Cannon
5.0 out of 5 stars OH, WHAT A WEB WE WEAVE......
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by Gail Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Past Present & Future - by the man who invented it
Tim Berners-Lee explains how the Internet got started, but how he then conceived of the World Wide Web. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2003 by Keith Appleyard
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
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 Amazon Customer
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
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