Weaving The Web, by Tim Berners-Lee

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Weaving The Web - The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor by Tim Berners-Lee, 1990

A couple of years ago I went on a quest to find the perfect note-taking software for me. I dabbled with Roam, but was looking for something less siloed. I tried TiddlyWiki, but found the tech stack quite clunky, as straight out the box it’s just an HTML file that has no way to write your changes anywhere. Eventually I stumbled on Obsidian, which was exactly what I needed: local notes, Wiki-style interconnected-ness with simple and (relatively) standardised Markdown for formatting. It got me thinking about the structure of the web and how fundamental links and connections should be. I was inspired to read Tim Berners-Lee’s book on the origins of the web. I took a bunch of notes, but these are the ones that resonated most strongly.

I’ll refer to Tim Berners-Lee as TBL to save us all some characters.

From the foreword by Michael L. Dertouzos, then-director of MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

When I first met Tim, I was surprised by another unique trait of his. As technologists and entrepreneurs were launching or merging companies to exploit the Web, they seemed fixated on one question: ‘How can I make the Web mine?’ Meanwhile, Tim was asking, ‘How can I make the Web yours?’


Early iterations



R&D and beyond

The WorldWideWeb in production

The Future

Some observations

I was reading the book out of an interest in the origins of the web and the tech that drives it. I didn’t take notes around the formation and operation of the W3C, or some of the loftier crystal ball-gazing as it wasn’t relevant to my specific context. This was a nice quote though (emphasis mine)

Bias on the Web can be insidious and far-reaching. It can break the independence that exists among our suppliers of hardware, software, opinion and information, corrupting our society.