Web Fundamentals
A Bird's-Eye View of the Web

Ruben Verborgh, Ghent Universityimec

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Ruben Verborgh

Ghent University imec IDLab

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the content of these slides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

[Mozilla advertisement: “Food. Water. Shelter. Internet.”]
©2016 Ruben Verborgh
[Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf at the W3C20 Anniversary Symposium]
©2014 W3C
[Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf at the W3C20 Anniversary Symposium]

Tim Berners-Lee

Vint Cerf

©2014 W3C
[Ted Nelson, Aaron Swartz, and Doug Engelbart at the 2001 International Semantic Web Working Symposium]

Ted Nelson

Aaron Swartz

Doug Engelbart

©2001 Eugene Eric Kim

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Which is the Internet
and which is the Web?

The Internet is to Web what
the telephone network is to fax.

The Internet is a communication network between different machines in the world.

The Web is a layer of interlinked resources accessible through the Internet.

The Internet contains more
than just the Web.

Most people don’t understand or care about the difference… but you should!

©2015 Quartz / LIRNEasia

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

[Ted Nelson at at Keio University in 1999]
©1999 Belinda Barnet

Ted Nelson: computer pioneer
and technology philosopher.

By hypertext I mean non-sequential writing—text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen. As popularly conceived, this is a series of text chunks connected by links which offer the reader different pathways.

Ted Nelson, Literary Machines (1980)

Nelson’s ideas were bigger than the Web,
but not necessarily as realistic.

[Douglas Engelbart in 2006]
©2006 Robert Holmgren

Douglas Engelbart: visionary inventor,
human–computer interaction pioneer.

Most of Engelbart’s ideas never
directly reached the real world.

[Tim Berners-Lee at his desk in CERN, 1994]
©1994 CERN
[Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for what would become the Web]

Tim Berners-Lee invented
the World Wide Web.

CERN decided to make the Web
available royalty-free in 1993.

This is for everyone #london2012 #oneweb #openingceremony @webfoundation @w3c

Tim Berners-Lee July 27, 2012

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

[The first Web server at CERN.]
©2005 Coolcaesar

With the Web’s client–server architecture,
nobody needs to know about others.

Web linking is decentralized because of
one-way links inside documents.

The Web was the only hypertext system
simple enough to scale to the world.

Individual links are allowed to break
so the entire Web does not.

Tim Berners-Lee

The Web’s operation-system independence
helped accelerate its growth.

The number of websites
started to grow at an explosive rate.

year number of websites
19911
199210
1993130
19942,738
199523,500
200017,087,182
2010206,956,723

websites founded before 1995

The Web evolved together
with technology (and bandwidth).

1991
text (and links) only
1993
proposal for the <img> element
2002
video through the Flash player
2009
HTML5 <video> element

Web technologies are standardized
by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Business evolved together
with the Web.

[graph with a long tail]

Education evolved together
with the Web.

Communication evolved together
with the Web.

Social media make global communication
accessible to everybody.

[Illustration from the blog post “The Web We Have to Save”]
©2015 Tim McDonagh

Is this the Web
I went to jail for?

[Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with Mark Zuckerberg at Menlo Park in 2015.]
©2015 Bloomberg

Facebook tries to replace the open Web,
which enabled Facebook in the first place.

[A billboard advert for Facebook’s Free Basics initiative in Mumbai.]
©2015 Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

We must continue to say no
to a caged version of the Web.

[Aaron Swartz speaking at an anti-SOPA rally.]
©Daniel J. Sieradski

Do we give governments
the power to censor the Web?

[picture of Donald Trump]
©2017 Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Net neutrality is in danger today.

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

The Web’s architecture makes it hard
to locate specific content.

Search engines select and rank content
in an increasingly personalized way.

Feeds let you discover new content
on websites you already know.

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Machines have only limited possibilities on the “human” Web.

Web APIs expose (machine-accessible)
functionality of a server to a client.

The number of Web APIs
has grown tremendously since 2000.

number of Web APIs
indexed in ProgrammableWeb

Graph showing a strong growth of APIs

Native online applications
are often powered by Web APIs.

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

Web APIs let machines execute scripts,
but not explore and process content.

[Cover of Scientific American, May 2001]
©2001 Scientific American

Tim Berners-Lee and others proposed
vision of intelligent Web agents.

The Semantic Web is a layer
on top of the existing Web.

The Semantic Web layer is integrated
into the existing Web.

Linked (Open) Data aims to bootstrap
the Semantic Web vision.

Billions of Linked Data facts
are currently published on the Web.

Who needs the Semantic Web when
we have a smartphone in our pockets?

[an iPhone running Siri]

Web Fundamentals
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Web

#WebDev2017

[Ted Nelson, Aaron Swartz, and Doug Engelbart at the 2001 International Semantic Web Working Symposium]
©2001 Eugene Eric Kim
[Photograph of Aaron Swartz]
©The Verge

1986–2013

The Internet’s Own Boy

Aaron is dead.

Wanderers in this crazy world,
we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.

Hackers for right, we are one down,
we have lost one of our own.

Nurturers, carers, listeners, feeders,
parents all, we have lost a child.

Let us all weep.

Tim Berners-Lee
[Douglas Engelbart in 2006]
©2006 Robert Holmgren

1925–2013

[Tim Berners-Lee at his desk in CERN, 1994]
©1994 CERN

The Web as I envisaged it,
we have not seen it yet.

The future is still so much bigger
than the past.

Tim Berners-Lee