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Weaving The Web Paperback – Oct 20 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Business; 1 edition (Oct. 20 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251587X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062515872
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #264,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Building the Internet was the collective achievement of hundreds of engineers and scientists. The intriguing thing about the World Wide Web is that, alone among Internet technologies, it was conceived and created by a single individual--the English physicist Tim Berners-Lee. He articulated the vision of a global universe of linked documents, wrote the first browser and server programs and came up with the protocols and acronynms (HTTP, URL, HTML, WWW) which are now part of all our lives.

Given the way the Web has become the dominant communications technology of our time, one could argue that Berners-Lee is the guy who invented the future. Yet up to now he has remained reticent about how he did it. Weaving the Web is therefore the definitive account of how the World Wide Web came to be. No one else could have written this book--the history of the Web straight from the source. Yet it's a characteristically modest and self-effacing book, in which Berners-Lee relegates the story of how he came to create the Web to the first 90 pages. They make riveting reading as they tell a story of ingenuity and persistence and vision; but most of all they tell a remarkable parable about civic values. The Intellectual Property Rights embodied in the Web could have made Berners-Lee the richest man in history. Yet he turned his back on the money and set his creation free. He was determined from the outset that the Web should belong not to him but to us.

The remaining 130 pages are devoted to an account of how he implemented this commitment to the public domain by setting up the World Wide Web Consortium--the organisation he created to ensure that that the Web continues to develop without becoming the proprietary reserve of the powerful corporations which aspire to control it. Through this account--of protocol wars and technical disputes and unbearable pressures--runs a consistent vision challenging the prevailing orthodoxy that regards the Web simply as a wonderful new way of doing business. Of course, it is a new way of doing business--but in Berners-Lee's view that is perhaps the least interesting thing about the Web. He continues to view the Web as he has always seen it--as a medium that can codify the sum total of human knowledge and understanding. Weaving the Web is an unforgettable testimony to that heroic vision. --John Naughton --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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.

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Inside This Book

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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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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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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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/ 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.
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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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