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History of HTML

Although the originator of the hypertext concept is debatable, Vannevar Bush delivered the concept to a wide audience. In the 1945 article entitled "As We May Think" he recognized that the number of publications has already
extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships

Bush proposed an analog system that would not require digital computers. In the 1960s, Theodor H. Nelson moved Bush's idea into the digital age and developed the term 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.

Starting in the late 1960s theorist, like Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, developed the idea of text in terms of networks and links. In The Archeology of Knowledge, Foucault points out that the

frontiers of a book are never clear-cut," because "it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network . . . [a] network of references

In the 1980' several Hypertext computer systems were built. Including Gopher by the University of Minnesota, Hypercard introduced by Apple in 1987 and ENQUIRE written by Tim Berners-Lee in the last half of 1980.

As part of his work for CERN, Tim Berners-Lee, began to develop a new highbred hypertext system in 1989. This system includes Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), with the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the Universal Resource Locator (URL). The first WWW browser was released on the Internet in August 1991. The WWW standard developed by CERN was released to the public in 1992.

WWW takes off

The HTML Evolution

The HTML standard was altered by the rapid growth of the World Wide Web.

The original standard allowed for linked static content and very basic interactive capabilites which were identified by the title of Common Gateway Interfaces (CGI).

A large demand developed for richer features in the static HTML such as the ability to center text. Many companies started to include their own features or extensions.

In addition to improving the static content several independent systems have been introduced to increase the interactive capabilities of the World Wide Web.

It is difficult to compare these different systems because the companies use different standards and different histories when promoting their products.

This next generation of World Wide Web capabilities will include Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).

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