Thursday, February 05, 2009

We are the threads holding the world together ...

"Weaving the Web" by Tim Berners-Lee is a must-read not only for computer or Internet geeks but for all of us who explore the philosophical layers of modern culture.
The book has two distinctive, though formally indistinguishable parts. The first one describes the web history, since its inception in 1989 and 1990, through the establishment of W3C consortium, till 1997 - the birth of XML.
This is very deep, fascinating and personal account written by the real creator of the Web.

However, the second part is even more interesting - and this is the best part of the book.
It explores the most important, philosophical tenents of the web - ideas that are fundamental, yet not really well known.

Let me mention only few:

  • The principle of least power - the basic motivation behind the design of HTML and XML
  • Neutralization of the net - the principle of non-biased services on the net
  • Free choice and free speech right - realised by the unlimited right to link to everything
  • A Universal space - the web can, in principle, hold ANY data and ANY object

Tim Berners-Lee shows the deep social significance of the web when he writes:
"Link by link we build paths of understanding across the web of humanity".

One of the best part of the book is that about Semantic Web - where in simple words, and through simple examples, Tim, explains this amazing idea of "web of data" or "web of meaning".

Even though, we still do not have Semantic Web in action, and we still do not understand why - Tim Berners-Lee enthusiasm, expressed in these chapters, gives us the hope, for the (r)evolution to come soon, and change the landscape of the net ....

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