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Weaving the Web: The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor [Hardcover]

Michael Dertouzos , Tim Berners-Lee , Mark Fischetti
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Dec 1999
English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee quietly laid the foundations for the World Wide Web (and consequently Hypertext) in 1980, created a prototype in 1990 and unleashed it to the public in 1991. Now overseeing his creation's growth, he tells the story of its growth and future development.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Business (18 Dec 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752820907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752820903
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

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 which 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


The birth of this modest, affable fellow's baby is fascinating. -- The Guardian

This book is crisply written and fills in many details in the story of the a style that is something of a relief from the swashbuckling tales found elsewhere. -- Computer Business Review

Tim Berners-Lee reads, as he has acted for a decade, as a real hero of our e-times. -- Robin Hunt, Management Today

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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other side of the world wide web 3 Feb 2002
Most people don't understand how Internet is different from World Wide Web. The author, Tim Berners-Lee, shows how the web evolved from his work at CERN and how his own and other people's need led to the initial ideas of the web segmented ideas of HTTP, Internet and URI. He goes on to explain his vision of the web and also explains his decision of not starting his own company as so many others of his time did.
The book also delves into his efforts for making CERN a European hub- a counterpart to MIT in USA. The book then discusses his present role as director of the W3C consortium and its numerous reseachers.
Also, the book illustrates the need for
keeping the web decentralized and free from monopolistic technologies.
The book is meant for non-technical people as
well. Tim has to be congratuled for doing a thorough job and the book has a decent cover and printing - which all makes it an enriching experience to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weaving the Web 25 Mar 2003
For some reason I now seem to be reading a lot of computer / internet related books and I blame this book for starting it all.
It's a fascinating account of how the web evolved and gives you a real grass roots feel, to the now highly commercialised internet.
I have great respect for the author because unlike other famous software veterans, it was not his vision to profit from his development but to benefit others.
The book goes onto to describe the future of the internet in the view of its creator, as good a guess as any and you can see it already coming true. Look at XML its eveywhere.
Brilliant book fuels the desire to learn about the history and future of the technologies we have today and tomorrow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Tim Berners-Lee ("TBL") has a story to tell rather than a web to weave. Readers looking for a deep technical account of how the web was built will be thoroughly disappointed as TBL writes in crystal clear colloquial english about his personal venture to bring people together to exchange information. In the process he tells us about the merits of unsung heroes and technologies. Readers seeking an autobiography would also better look elsewhere as TBL has no need for hagiographies.
TBL's story is nearly apologetic and devoid of any need to project an image. "Weaving the Web" tells the story of a team contributing to one of the last Millennium's major technological milestones. TBL introduces readers to the many who have graciously and silently contributed to the genesis of the web, most notably Robert Cailliau. They all have in common a desire to contribute to a worldwide effort aimed at making knowledge from all by all available to all. This necessitated the creation of today's key www components, HTML, URL and FTP/TCP IP enabling all internet users to create, find and call up documents or web sites. In the process of that creation, TBL tells us about the eternal human saga of reconciling opposing camps which seem sometimes more concerned about holding on to their acquired albeit flawed knowledge franchise rather than advancing the search for the new and the better.
Piously, TBL explains how the web was born out of a desire to facilitate CERN physicists' access to knowledge residing in the entrails of a disparate collection of operating systems. CERN itself seems to have financed this development nearly despite itself, as TBL humbly admits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read 6 Dec 1999
By A Customer
As an ex-CERN student, fellow and consultant at the time that the Web was being born I ordered "Weaving the Web" with great anticipation.
I was not disappointed. Tim explains in a very readable way the events that culminated in the creation of the Web and beyond.
His narrative style is excellent, especially as he describes his frustrations with CERN management (yes, I've been there!) and external organisations like NCSA, who attempted to usurp control over his creation.
My only criticism is that Tim is far too diplomatic in the book. I assume that this is because of his current obligations to the W3C - you can't really go around slandering W3C members :).
However, having said that, it is still possible to read between the lines and imagine the anger he must have experienced at times.
To summarise - a great read which most people interested in Web should enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Keith Appleyard VINE VOICE
Tim Berners-Lee explains how the Internet got started, but how he then conceived of the World Wide Web, all in a very non-technical way.
Berners-Lee is a very modest man, and tells a good story that makes you feel you were there.
He then takes us through his plans for the future of the WWW; obviously there are greater commercial forces now at play that might foil his plans, but good luck to him in his endeavours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent read. As many have commented, not actually a techie book (per se) but about a technical subject. The author describes the multiple incarnations and the reasoning behind it. He then goes on to describw how he trys to promote it, use the InterNet (NOT the Web!)
If you're old enough there are reference to machines & formats that will allow you to reminisce :) And certainly dipicts a well known scene of multiple O/S with multiple Formats for multiple users.... HTML or no HTML - this will still remain.
The latter 2-3 chapters do wander in to the mid-to-distant future and at the very end religious (very worrying - technology v theology).
On the whole easily worth the money. Couldn't put it down, not bad for a non-manual book :)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Messed up my head to start with.
A very interesting read.As I said it did mess with my head to start,but if your trying the write what somone is imagning in the head of a 'geek'. It does explane this very well.
Published 18 months ago by N. Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very perceptive techie material
Most of the action here, assuming it's not updated, is 1990 to 2000. The end-point seems a bit dated now - Amazon gets a mention, but not Google or Windows XP or e-Bay. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2010 by Rerevisionist
4.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive account of the World Wide Web
Addressed from a generally technologist's point of view, Berners-Lee nonetheless does much to convey the sense of adventure and optimism inherent in the whole process of the Web's... Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2001 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - but the author is a bit annoying!
This is a good book by any standards - well written, good pace - and very interesting if you have an interest in computers or the Internet. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2001 by Bobby Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insight into the Birth of the World Wide Web
I couldn't wait for this book to arrive, and when it did I couldn't put it down...
'Weaving the Web' is a personal account by Tim Berners-Lee the creator of the World Wide Web... Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2000 by
4.0 out of 5 stars A Manifesto for the online future...
If this book is bought as anything other than a white paper on the future of the web, then the purchaser will be disappointed...but it is no less a book for that. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Kahuna
Slip inside the recursive mind of a guy whose work has made cyber-surfing possible: "Inventing the World Wide Web involved my growing realization there was a power in arranging... Read more
Published on 19 Nov 1999
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