am 31. Mai 2010
Bis jetzt habe ich Tim Berners-Lee mehr oder weniger ignoriert. Er hat das WWW erfunden, aber who cares, dachte ich mir bis jetzt. Dieses Buch hat meine Einstellung dazu und zum Internet generell geändert. Mir wurde bewusst, wie wichtig offene Standards sind, damit alles funktioniert, und wie dankbar wir ihm sein können, dass die Dinge im Internet heute so sind, wie sie sind.
Er erzählt in 14 Kapitel chronologisch seinen und den Werdegang des Webs. Zuerst merkt man den Nerd in ihm. Er programmiert selbst, muss Modems ans Laufen bekommen, und zum Ende hin ist er ein Business-Mensch, der im W3-Consortium arbeitet. Vor allem in den ersten Kapiteln musste ich viel Schmunzeln. Dank des Buchs habe ich auch endlich den Unterschied zwischen URI und URL verstanden.
Seiner Meinung nach muss das W3-Consortium Vorreiter sein. Es muss neue Technologien definieren, bevor sie auf dem Markt relevant werden. So baut er auch sein Buch auf: Zum Ende wird es anstrengender, weil er versucht seine (damals, 1999) neuentwickelten Technologien zu promoten. Leider wissen wir heute, dass das W3-Consortium seitdem eine lange Durststrecke hinter sich hat und erst in den letzten Jahren wieder populär wurde.
Obwohl das Buch schon über 10 Jahre alt ist, und es umso etwas Schnelllebiges wie das Internet geht, hat es kein Stück an Aktualität verloren. Technologietreiber, wie Facebook, Google und Apple, können gefährlich sein für das Internet, wenn sie nicht so offen vorgehen, wie Berners-Lee damals bei der Entwicklung von HTTP, URLs und HTML, und dieses Buch demonstriert anhand von vielen Beispielen und Anekdoten wie es anderen Firmen von damals machen wollten.
Lieder hört das Buch zu Beginn des Browserkriegs zwischen Microsoft und Netscape auf. Ich hätte gerne noch Tim Berners-Lees Meinung dazu gehört. Das Buch ist gut zu lesen, und an das britische Englisch hat man sich schnell gewöhnt. Empfehlung für alle, die beruflich mit dem Internet zu tun haben.
am 6. Dezember 1999
Weaving The Web is a wonderful blending of three distinct subjects: the history of the World Wide Web, an astute analysis of the web's "current" state, that is, where it stands in the middle of 1999, and where it's founder believes and thinks it is headed. It is difficult to believe the accuracy of Berners-Lee's vision of what the web could be in the time that the web was just a dream, and how he worked to achieve it. He also dispels the common belief that he either disdains the accumulation of wealth that could have been his had he chosen a different path, or that he envies those individuals who have made millions (or billions) by building on the web's humble beginnings. He also does not begrudge the commercialization over the web, as many academics did at the time when the web was viewed primarily as a medium for the free sharing of ideas and information.
Berners-Lee talks in depth about the social implications of technology, and indeed the World Wide Web is a social beast as much as it is a technological one. He does separate, however, the duties of bodies like the W3C whose sole purpose is to facilitate and strengthen the standards and protocols that are providing new richness and robustness to the web. This is clearly highlighted in his discussion of PICS, which allows for creation of rules that can facilitate filtering of objectionable material on the web. Berners-Lee makes the clear distinction between those who create the PICS technology, and those who decide how it will be implemented.
It is evident from this book that Berners-Lee is far from finished in his duties. While not as radical as the initial concept of the World-Wide Web must have been in its time, his discussion of security, privacy, and collaboration and how they can and should be implemented on the web should be read by anyone who wants to be a player in Cyberspace. Berners-Lee does not hold a monopoly on great ideas for the web, but he clearly has a grasp on the balance and understanding of both the technology as well as its place in society that others would be well served to strive for.
am 9. Mai 2000
Weaving the Web is a book written by the Web's creator "Tim Berners Lee". The book is divided in three main part. The evolution of the Web, the moral behind the Web, and the future of the Web. The special thing about the book is that you can read it as a technical book, and you can read it as a moral book. After reading some pages in the book, i had chosen to read it morally.
The book has only 209 pages, but you learn very much about the Web by reading it. I think it should be morally obliged for every web creator, and everyone that concerns the Web, to read the book. In the book he speaks about how the Web evolved, what its potential is, and what his personal vision about the Web is. It's a amusing book to read in that way. The moral behind the Web.
am 7. Oktober 1999
After browsing umpteen "History of the web" pages, its refreshing to get it from the man himself.
Primarily, this book is a personal statement, and should be evaluated as one.It has the flavour of a travelogue with the descriptions of the bylanes and their interesting denizens who put in their mite to make this journey happen.However, it doesnt seem to be written with the intention to "attract"; its more of a "how and why i did this" type.As such, it falls outside the "Inventing the Web for dummies" class, which probably explains the lack of pictures, cute icons and sidebars (There is however, a graph on the cover which i'd love to look at fully!).Throughout the book runs a chain(web?) of incidents and decisions that are easily construed as examples of modesty, altrusim and general magnanimity on TBL's part (eg, not wanting to name the web as TIM,happiness at the web protocols being made public, tolerance of big companys' ideas of total control,etc) but (which I suspect) are only a result of common sense reasoning to get the whole thing going the way he wanted it to. I suppose the only way you could "own" the web was to give it away! Also refreshing is the lack of derison for the commercial side of the web.
For a book with such an inward perspective, however, it holds a lot for every reader.The everyday web buff now knows how it happened - blow by blow.The corporate reader now has something to glean a success story from and a starting point to tommorow's web technologies - which is enough justification for promoting this book as something more than just desktop decoration and board meeting small talk.
The programmer (IMHO) is the person to benefit the most , however. The book reads like trace of some meandering execution thread which TBL has (finally) documented. Now we know how it worked.And why. We also now know that "view source" was something that shouldnt have been.Also that "put" should have been right there with "get".And the link to the future -the chapters on the "Semantic web"- seem to be just the next iteration of what is now the web. While OMG and others talk of creating the object web , here is TBL plotting to achieve that and more with his seemingly simple ideas.Of course, all this is not in the book. Its on the w3c site. Which is suspect is where the rest of this book is - in bits and pieces. Or chunks of information if you will, linked inexhorably to each other. Which is why i'm looking for the hypertext version of this book.
An aside on some other reviews: 1]ironically, firstname.lastname@example.org is able to comment on this book *thro the web*. 2]i was about to rush to point out to him that TBL could have probably made a lot more money with his idea by starting a company (or some such "control organization") than writing a book about it, but then probably the web wouldnt be what it is if it were run in that way.
am 1. Oktober 1999
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, Berners-Lee has written a book that not only describes the invention and evolution of the Web, but also inspires commitment to high principles and deep introspection. Berners-Lee is clearly an intellect of the highest caliber, and his commitment to democratic principles in developing the Web is, to me, profoundly admirable. On the other hand, the author seems to labor under the common curse of most software engineers - an inability to clearly communicate ideas and concepts to the non-specialist. Though he tries in words to communicate these concepts, I believe that, overall, his attempt fails unless the reader first has some exposure to, and familiarity with the world-wide Web - an unacceptable pre-requisite for a book directed at the non-specialist.
The really unfortunate thing about this is that it does not need to be so. For example, the book has no figures and no tables (though it does have a glossary of the hundreds of acronyms used and a good index). A few well-designed figures and summary tables would help a great deal to unify concepts that are just plain fuzzy and awkward when described with words alone. If you've ever seen a Web site and hypertext you can pretty well follow along with the written descriptions, but how much more helpful it would have been to have a few (color) pictures illustrating what a well-constructed Web site with hyper text looks like.
The book does have its fine points. It is a first-hand look at how the Web came into existence, and how it is continuing to evolve today. It also explains efforts to make the Web more valuable. For example, my experience with the Web indicates that it has not only enabled the exchange of accurate, timely, and useful information, but also the dissemination of ignorance, intolerance, and stupidity. Not only has it facilitated these things, it has made it possible for them to "dress up" and look as legitimate as the best peer-review science journal. The unfortunate fact is that anyone with a few thousand dollars and the proper disposition can setup a Web site and say anything they want. This certainly facilitates democratic principles, and I'm not suggesting a central authority that practices censorship by any means, but the unfortunate fact is that it results in an information structure where virtually everything is suspect.
Berners-Lee hints at solutions to this problem through what he calls a "Web of Trust" in which people establish associations on the Web much as they do in real life, where certain associations bring trust, while others bring suspicion. For example, when I pick up a technical book by Wylie, I tend to trust the content because of my experience with other books by this publisher. I make similar associations with some authors, journals, newsmagazines, etc. Development of processes and standards to support this "Web of Trust" will go a long way toward improving the utility of the worldwide Web.
Anther problem I've found with the Web is that there are no acceptable search engines. Current search engines (including the butler) are clumsy things that act like they are trying to understand what you are asking for, but really haven't a clue. Work in progress should enable search engines to actually act intelligently, and provide far greater utility. The author describes some of the possibilities in this arena as well, and sheds some light on what we might expect to see in the future.
Every politician involved in writing legislation associated with the Web should read this book if, for no other reason, than to understand the consequences of attempts to censor information. Burners-Lee offers several anecdotal stories that illustrate the complexity of the Web and how attempts to censor can have unintended consequences. The one I like best regards a Christian fundamentalist group that lobbied for tools that would allow them and others to block sites they considered to be pornographic. As it turned out, other groups had used similar tools to block the fundamentalists' Web site because they considered it to be unacceptable to children owning to the white supremacist and anti-gay propaganda carried there. The example hit home with two important facts about censorship and the Web: First, no single person can decide for everyone what is unacceptable and offensive - big brother censorship is totally unacceptable. Second, the technical tools exist for people to censor themselves and/or their children by blocking certain sites. What we as a society should do, therefore, is to maintain our commitment to democratic principles and freedom of expression while providing the proper technical tools to ensure that parents and individuals continue to have control over what and whom they wish to associate.
There is also a good discussion about issues relating to privacy. Clearly, the Europeans are far ahead of Americans in this area. It seems odd that so many Americans seem oblivious and unconcerned about personal information being acquired about them over the Internet, and that our government has done so little to protect personal privacy.
One unifying theme comes through this book - the Web is not a "thing," it is a space. This space is not controlled by a central authority, but is built upon the principles of individual freedom of expression. Berners-Lee's personal commitment to these ideals is the real reason the Web exists today.
am 8. Oktober 1999
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical antecedents of the World Wide Web. I'm sure only a very small fraction of the millions using the Web today realize it's essentially an outgrowth of the vision of one man. Here, you get an account penned by the man himself of what he was thinking when he first conjured the Web and his thoughts on its future.
Overall, the book is a very engaging read, and its best feature is the insight it provides into the principles that Tim Berners-Lee had in mind during the Web's conception. Though it seems to have been commandeered by mass-marketers, the Web has its roots in the ideals of de-centralized and democratic information sharing. And as long as there are people like Tim Berners-Lee involved who are inspired at least as much by integrity and character as by profit motive, the Web has every chance to fulfill that promise.
I would have rated the book 5 stars, but at times the text slips a bit in editing, and it's probably less accessible than it could be to the layperson. Despite that, the book is excellent, and everyone who has ever typed www into a browser should give it a look.
After reading this book, grab a copy of "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon for a great history of the Internet.
am 24. November 1999
"Weaving the Web" gives the overwhelming impression that Tim Berners-Lee is basically a Regular Guy who was in exactly the right place at the right time. He comes across as a relentlessly enlightened person, beneficent toward all, earnest to the point of humorlessness.
The book tells the story of the past and present of the Web, and Berners-Lee's ideas about the future, at a very high level. It's not a Techie's History of the Web; there are a few annoying technical gaffes, and not much about the bits and bytes. I was surprised to read some non-technical reviewers opine that it was *too* technical. No pleasing everyone, I guess!
I'm not convinced by Berners-Lee's idea that, if only we hook everything together well enough, we will then be able to make computers that understand, that reason, that figure stuff out for us. I think the hooking-together is the easy part, and we'll still be far from real understanding. On the other hand, maybe I would have been a skeptic back in 1989, too, when he was telling people about this crazy thing called the World Wide Web... *8)
am 11. Dezember 1999
What's nice about Weaving the Web is that Tim Berners-Lee quite openly discusses how parallel thinking by other individuals led to some of his developments and how his attitude towards more openness and decentralization was met with incomprehension by all concerned. His thinking was of the rising tide floats all boats school, while his intellectual competitors (he never sold anything) were of the heterogeneity floats our boat school.
The book may be long on paeans to the others involved, but it's nice to know how ideas flowed from person to person, and how comprehensive his initial notions were. What's clear is that his relentless "elling"of the idea of interconnectivity, common language, and open standards is what made the Web spread like wildfire and gave the basis to today's usage.
If Berners-Lee's "ompetitors"had had there way, we'd be using one of a dozen proprietary systems, paying per click and retrieval - very much like a larger version of Lexis-Nexis or CompuServe.
am 6. November 1999
I've been online since 94, build sites, and teach web-related classes. This book is a wonderful testament to the *philosophy* of universal access -- freedom from hardware and software handcuffs that continue to plague general computing today.
We (USA) don't stand for a lack of interoperability in other infrastructure products (phone, fax, gasoline, railroads, electricity, TV signals, etc). Why should we with computing systems?
TBL says we don't have to. And thanks to him today, on the WWW, we don't.
So it lacks background on TCP/IP. So what? This isn't a "technical" book. It's a history book; a philosophical treatise. One man's vision of technology as a community building tool.
Where are we going? Where *should* we be going with this technology? How private is private - and why should you care? The second half of the book should be mandatory reading for all regulators and elected officials.
am 30. Januar 2000
This is an amazing account of how the Web came to be by the man who pulled together the ideas of many others to create it. Considering how much his invention has changed the world, he is incredibly humble in telling his story. Very easy and fast read. Also provides a good background knowledge of the technical side for those interested in creating for the Web. Which, as he states over and over again, was one of the main reasons he created it; so people from anywhere, no matter who they were, could reach other people and share information. I found the technical information very easily absorbed and easy to understand. But I want to point out this is NOT a techy, how-to manual, full of jargon. Merely one man's story and an overview of the technology and ideas surrounding him. Highly recommend to anyone.