The Internet vs the World Wide Web | Origins & the Hyperlink

We have the Russians to thank for the Internet. In 1957 they won the race into space by launching Sputnik (satellite with a cool name), which remained in orbit for some 3 months. Shortly thereafter (early '58) DARPA was formed .. by the U.S. military, with the purpose of keeping up with the Jones-niks. Technologically.

Nagasaki bomb[ Seems like a great time to join the nascent military-industrial complex. No? Where do I sign up? ]

Nearly a decade earlier (in '49) the Soviets had acquired the bomb (4 years after Hiroshima & Nagasaki).

So it's no surprise that surviving-a-nuclear-strike would become an objective for the boys at DARPA.

That's where the idea originated for a 'robust' network .. that would eventually grow into the global Internet we now take for granted.

In other words, the Net was originally conceived as a 'nuclear grade' network of sorts. So you could say it's somewhat 'radified'. =)

On the other hand .. it surprised me to learn that the Web (World Wide Web) is less than 20 years old. The Web runs on the Net, as a 'service.' The Net predates the Web .. by 10 or 20 years.

If you look up the terms 'net' and 'web' in any dictionary, you'll see how similar their definitions are. But the net & web that WE use are different. How so? you ask?

Sputnick Russian satellite»» The Internet = Hardware + TCP/IP

The Net = hardware (servers, routers, switches, wires, etc.) + the TCP/IP protocol ..

.. which makes the data stored on the web servers available to you & me (.. via the URL, entered into your browser of choice).

Not sure if your PC, when it's connected, is considered part of the Internet. Probably .. especially if it's acting as a server, which many PCs do these days.

The Internet sorta got its 'start' in 1965, when a project to create a 'robust' network was launched at DARPA.

[ Can almost hear the Stones playing in the background » (Can't Get No) Satisfaction. ]

The first connection came 4 years later in October 1969, between UCLA (Los Angeles) & the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California (.. which would become part of Silicon Valley, just south of San Francisco). UC Santa Barbara and the University of Utah were added (to the connection) shortly thereafter.

So you could argue the Internet began in 1969. This is definitely the coolest of the 3 dates I propose. It's the one I prefer to use and probably the most popular. [ Can amost hear the Beatles playing » Come Together. ]

The Internet that we all know & love so well uses the TCP/IP protocol (software). TCP/IP got its start in 1973 at Stanford (Palo Alto).

The term 'Internet' was first used in 1974 .. to describe a global TCP/IP network. So, you could also argue the Internet (that we know today) began in 1973 (.. with TCP/IP).

The first TCP/IP-based wide-area network was operational in January 1983. So, you could also argue the Internet began then. But no later.

Note the Internet has a backbone, which helps to conceptualize it. Our system of road-works seem to offer a suitable analogy .. with bigger/faster sections branching out into smaller/slower ones. All being controlled by rules (protocols) to maximize flow and minimize collisions.

During the '80's the TCP/IP protocol became increasingly popular. And here we are. I just don't know when the first non-U.S. connection was added .. to fill in my mental timeline, cuz I like to learn about the things I use on a regular basis. But Nigel says (in an email):

Trying to pin a date on the Internet is pointless. What mattered was the things you could *do*, not the specific technology. During the 70's lots of folks could already do lots of "internet" things (mail, forums, etc.). Only missing was the mass accessibility on a global scale.

Speaking of mass accessibility on a global scale...

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Tim Berners-Lee »» The World Wide Web by Tim B-L

The Web on the other hand, was the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, who was working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, at the time.

It's based on the HTTP protocol and was released (to the Internet) in August 1991.

The Web is a web of what? » web pages .. hypertext documents .. that are interconnected via hyperlinks and URLs. The page you're reading right now is such a document and is therefore part of the Web.

Web pages can contain text, graphics, audio and video. The Web was designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents (web pages).

Tim Berners-Lee was born in London in '55, he graduated from Oxford in '76, and was knighted in 2004. (No, you are not worthy.)

The World Wide Web program had its conceptual origin as a data storage program called 'Enquire' that TB-L wrote for his own personal use in 1980 while at CERN. Enquire employed 'random associations' .. which eventually became the hyperlink.

But the real WWW .. that you & I use today .. got its start a decade later in 1989 .. when Tim B-L proposed a global hypertext project. As mentioned earlier, the WWW (based on HTTP protocol) was released to the Net in August 1991. Not so very long ago.

So you can see that the software (protocol) that powers the Web took only a year or so to 'build' .. while the Internet, which consists of the hardware & TCP/IP protocol .. took a good decade or two. The Web itself grows daily with each document added .. while the Internet grows with each server added.

Again, to recap, the Web runs as a 'service' (using HTTP) on the Internet (which uses TCP/IP). Most of us (you & me) use the Web 99% of the time when we connect to the Internet.

My little piece of the Internet consists of a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that runs on a physical server, located downtown Chicago. In other words, the document you're reading right now is stored on a server in Chicago (.. if I haven't moved the site to a new web hosting provider by the time you read this).

You can use the Internet without using the Web (.. by using e-mail which uses the SMTP protocol, or by transferring files using FTP). But the Web seems pointless without the Internet. Much more info is available (on the Web) about the origins of the Net .. than the origins of the Web.

Sputnick Russian satellite»» Mother of All Hyperlinkers

The hyperlink is the thing that makes the Web so cool .. in terms of practical, everyday use.

It's the mechanism by which we make the actual connection .. in terms of ideas.

Of course the 'Net is always underneath the Web, facilitating that global connection with its monstrous infrastructure.

I read somewhere that the hyperlink was designed to mimic how your brain works. A thought or idea that LEADS TO another thought (or idea). I tend to think that way, and I'd imagine most everybody does.

I like hyperlinks, and have created many of them over the years. They provide me with an easy-to-use (clickable) mechanism that provides readers with access to additional info they might need or want. Quality supporting links (like footnotes) can lend credibility to a document, and shows an author has done his homework.

Sometimes I also use hyperlinks to inject humor. Hidden treats to make you laugh.

In fact, I may very well be the king of hyperlinks .. as I tend to season my pages with a generous sprinkling. Do you know anybody who uses more? (I don't.) If someone has created more hyperlinks than me, they are one hyperlinking dude.

This is one of the main reasons I create my entries (like today's) in Dreamweaver. Only after that sucker is done do I copy-n-paste into Movable Type (blogging software). Cuz creating links in MT goes much slower .. enough to make me not wanna add very many. It's the same with ANY web-based interface. Dropping a link in Dreamweaver is fast & slick.

If you stop to consider all the info contained in all the links included here, you can see how the document becomes almost multi-dimensional.

I've made enough entries over the years that I'm now able to link up many other documents (web pages) that I've written myself .. rather than linking to external sources (.. which may go bad). Rad links are always reliable. I hate link-rot. 

And I've also started using (last month) anchor links .. which are links to different PARTS of a web page. (See the '»»' links at various heading titles.) They've been coming in handy. Wish I woulda started using them much earlier.

Do any of you Linux gurus know how I could write a shell script to go thru my entire site and count the number of hyperlinks in the pages that I've created? I'm kinda curious now. And I'd like to be able to back-up my boast with a hard number.

I would need to exclude some directories, such as the forums. But that's beyond my skill-set.

UPDATE: JW suggested the following script (.. from the Netherlands):

find /location/of/files -name '*.html' -execdir sed 's/\<a href/AHREF\n/gi' \{\} \; | grep AHREF | wc -l

But it gives me get an error » find: sed terminated by signal 13. Uh, signal 13 .. that can't be good.

UPDATE - Figured it out. The last character in the script is a letter, not a number. Dang, I shoulda known that. (Note: the PuTTY SSH client that I launch from within WinSCP does not allow me to copy-n-paste.)

The number of links for the whole site for pages ending with *.html = 100,103. When I ran the same script for *.htm files, I get » 159,765. That doesn't make sense, cuz there are far more pages with *.html extentions than those with *.htm, which I stopped using long ago.

The forum's posts/threads are stored as *.txt files, so those shouldn't be counted by the script .. tho the forums contain many links, as you might imagine. The forums contain nearly 50-K posts in over 5,000 separate threads.

Today's entry, for example, contains ~90 links that I selected and created myself. There are another 30 that the Movable Type software creates automatically. But I don't think those show up when I run the script because they aren't created until the page is requested. But maybe I'm wrong.

I'll run the script on just this page and see what I get. » 130. Hmmm. Not what I expected. (Or maybe I just can't count.)

  1. The pages contained in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 contain 4,270 links (.. as of August 30, 2010).
  2. The pages contained in Ye Olde Rad Blog III contain 18,973 links.
  3. The pages contained in Ye Olde Rad Blog II contain 12,806 links.
  4. The pages contained in Ye Olde Rad Blog contain 20,264 links

TOTAL: 56,313 .. not counting the guides and daily entries not converted to blog entries (.. with Movable Type). Note these are JUST the individual archives, and the monthly archive, but not the category archives.

So there IS some redundant counting. Because the first part of the daily entry (called the daily archive) is included in the monthly archive. Maybe 20% I'd guess. Since the monthly archive is stored in the same (monthly) directory with the individual entries, I can't NOT count it.

Notice that the hyperlink allows you to color or imbue a word or phrase with meaning (semantics) .. BEYOND that which is typically considered dictionay-spec. (Worth rereading.)

The sun»» The Web Works Like the Sun (Fusion)

In nuclear physics .. the COMBINING of two light nuclei (atoms) is called » fusion. Fusion is what the sun uses .. to make heat/energy.

On the other hand, the SPLITTING of a larger atom (into 2 smaller parts) is called » fission. Fission is what your friendly neighborhood reactor plant uses .. to keep your lights on & power your Xbox.

It's far easier to split a 'big' atom than combine smaller ones .. because it takes FAR more energy to combine them. But the result tho, is » far more energy released (from fusion) .. too much for us to control. We only use it to blow stuff up. That's why we have no fusion reactors. (Least not yet.)

Since the Net/Web CONNECTS things together (people with information) .. it seems to operate similarly (metaphysically speaking) .. to fusion (.. which releases a tremendous amount of energy). And yes, the 'Net took lots of 'energy' to build. (Input.)

My point » a tool that connects people (anywhere on the planet) to ideas (everywhere on the planet) is a POWERFUL tool. (It's hot.)

After today's introduction, the next step would include a discussion on » packet switching. But that's beyond the scope of this entry. And I suspect it would be amiss to discuss the 'Net's origins without mentioning Unix. Unix and the 'Net go together like .. well, like Unix & the 'Net.

So, thank-you Moscow. And thank-you Dept of Defense. And thank-you Tim Berners-Lee. For helping to get the hyperlinked ball rolling.

P.S. - That must be something of an ego trip, no? I mean » TB-L: "I invented the World Wide Web. Maybe you've heard of it? How about a date Saturday night? I'll tell you all about it. Say, 7 o'clock?"

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » internet vs world wide web origins timeline history

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on August 25, 2010 8:25 AM.

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