CERN recreates first web page

Scientists at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, have decided it's become all to easy to forget how far we've come since the first days of the internet. The team's aim is to preserve the original hardware and software that once played host to the first web page.

Developed by Professor Sir. Tim Berners-Lee during his work at CERN, the World Wide Web now holds an estimated 14.27 billion pages and almost 2.5 billion users. It can be remained unsaid how instrumental the internet has been in modern society, with businesses being run and fortunes being made solely from it.

The web manager for CERN's communication group, Dan Noyes, told BBC News the restoration of the first website will enable future generations to see the extent to which the web has evolved and to examine how it affects modern life:

I want my children to be able to understand the significance of this point in time: the web is already so ubiquitous - so, well, normal, - that one risks failing to see how fundamentally it has changed. 

He went on to add:

We are in a unique moment where we can still switch on the first web server and experience it. We want to document and preserve that. 

CERN have added a page detailing the restoration project as well as access to the first web site itself.

Above (left): Sir. Tim Berners-Lee, the 'father of the internet'. Above (right) the NeXT computer that played host to the world's first website.

BBC News' Pallab Ghosh goes on to detail his time at CERN, where scientists involved in the project were interested far past the point of just refurbishing outdated computers, but instead aware that their work was helping to preserve a system that truly changed the world. Whilst exploring Tim Berners-Lee's old office at the facility, Ghosh met researcher Sir Tim. James Gillies who detailed why he himself was interested in the project:

One of my dreams is to enable people to see what that early web experience was like. You might have thought that the first browser would be very primitive but it was not. It had graphical capabilities. You could edit into it straight away. It was an amazing thing; it was a very sophisticated thing.

Without the use of a handy piece of Javascript, modern-day browsers are unable to edit and write directly into web content. 

In the early 90's, Gillies suggested that CERN's management discussed whether their main focus for the future should be the development of the web or physics research. You can read the full interview over at BBC News.

Source: BBC NewsImages via CERN

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18 Comments

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This web site looks like a perfect metro web site. It's awesome to see how it was ahead of its time.

LaP said,
This web site looks like a perfect metro web site. It's awesome to see how it was ahead of its time.

Or maybe design is going backwards?

Tony. said,
Can't get to the website lol

Same here and even at that, it took a good 20 seconds to error out!!
Yep, That's EXACTLY how I remember the web running also.
Tried again and this is what it shows. Some of those lines under each section are actually links.

World Wide Web
The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.
Everything there is online about W3 is linked directly or indirectly to this document, including an executive summary of the project, Mailing lists , Policy , November's W3 news , Frequently Asked Questions .

What's out there?
Pointers to the world's online information, subjects , W3 servers, etc.
Help
on the browser you are using
Software Products
A list of W3 project components and their current state. (e.g. Line Mode ,X11 Viola , NeXTStep , Servers , Tools , Mail robot , Library )
Technical
Details of protocols, formats, program internals etc
Bibliography
Paper documentation on W3 and references.
People
A list of some people involved in the project.
History
A summary of the history of the project.
How can I help ?
If you would like to support the web..
Getting code
Getting the code by anonymous FTP , etc.

Zagadka said,
Gee, that CERN seems to do useful things. Glad the US is also on the cusp of knowledge and discovery.

They also happen to be at the bottom of the debt ladder, its all about balance.

Actually the US is researching things, mostly quantum computers and whatnot, we watched a video in physics a few years back about their laser experiment and if you put a small slit and fire a beam of single photons they split into 2 somehow but if you started to try and observe it, it wouldn't happen so they thought it was parallel universes or some crap. I thought it was bull when I saw it but they're obviously doing something.

Zagadka said,
Gee, that CERN seems to do useful things. Glad the US is also on the cusp of knowledge and discovery.

not sure how us is playing in there now

n_K said,
Actually the US is researching things, mostly quantum computers and whatnot, we watched a video in physics a few years back about their laser experiment and if you put a small slit and fire a beam of single photons they split into 2 somehow but if you started to try and observe it, it wouldn't happen so they thought it was parallel universes or some crap. I thought it was bull when I saw it but they're obviously doing something.

Actually, that's an experiment by Austrian professor Anton Zeilinger. It's on youtubt and it's mighty creepy.