The world is celebrating the 25th birthday of the Web on Wednesday, and that's because 25 years ago a proposal was written describing the basis for what would become the system of linked pages on which users read this article.
In March 1989, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote the proposal for a "global hypertext system," which would eventually become the World Wide Web. That proposal can be seen in its original form online.
At first, the point of the Web was to simply to improve the communication and management of information at the organization where Berners-Lee worked — CERN the European nuclear research group. But eventually Berners-Lee realized that the Web could be used for much more.
Using one of the computers sold by Steve Jobs' NeXT company, Berners-Lee created the first Web browser, called WorldWideWeb. He then built the very first Web pages, and thus, the Web became a reality.
The Web began to take off in 1993 alongside the release of the Mosaic Web browser. Mosaic helped popularize the Web thanks to its ability to display images, rather than just text.
For a while, the Web was mostly used by academics and scientists. Adoption of the Web spread further when Microsoft made its browser, Internet Explorer, available for free in 1996 and included it with Windows 95.
By 1998, Web users finally had a way to easily find documents online with the introduction of the Google search engine.
The rest is history.