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alt.hypertext

Last Edit: 10/01/17

The newsgroup alt.hypertext was used by Tim Berners-Lee to announce the creation of the World Wide Web on the 6th of August, 1991. While the World Wide Web was launched at an earlier date - the first web server was launched on the 25th of December, 1990 - only a handful of colleagues and friends of Berners-Lee knew about the project. The first public announcement was on alt.hypertext; which, due to the popularity of the World Wide Web, is an important date in the development of the Internet and it's services.

The post that Berners-Lee made on the alt.hypertext newsgroup included instructions on how to download a web browser - designed by Berners-Lee - and how to access webpages. The following introduction to the World Wide Web was posted by Berners-Lee:

The post by Berners-Lee to announce the public launch of the world wide web on the alt.hpertext newsgroup

Why did Berners-Lee announce the creation of the World Wide Web on the alt.hypertext newsgroup? while the World Wide Web is a document system, the documents are connected together through the use of hypertext hyperlinks, and the documents themselves are formatted with hypertext elements. While the World Wide Web is a hypertext document system, hypertext was invented in the 1960's, and has been used in a variety of software systems.

It may also appear perplexing that the World Wide Web - that would become so globally important and popular - would be announced in such an innocuous way. In 1991, when the World Wide Web was launched, the Internet was not widely used by the general public: in-fact, only a very small proportion of the population of developed nation knew of it's existence. In 1991, another Internet document retrieval system was launched: the Gopher system. From 1991-1993, Gopher was more popular than the World Wide Web: it was only when Gopher began charging a fee to implement a Gopher server that the World Wide Web was given the initiative to become the dominant Internet document retrieval system.