"Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web"
Reading history and reviews
Finished in 2008I think that this book is out of print now, rather aptly perhaps I got mine second-hand via one of Amazon's marketplace sellers - one of the many things that have been made possible thanks to the invention and uptake of the World Wide Web.
Interestingly the full title of the book on the fly-leaf appends the words "By Its Inventor" to the already unweildy "Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web", and although the book is perhaps a bit old now (it was originally published in 1999) it is still a fascinating first-hand account of the origins of a technology that is ubiquituous. I remember my first encounter with the web back in 1994 (running Mosiac on a UNIX workstation) and through Tim Berners-Lee's account of the development of the web it becomes clear that at the beginning there was no guarantee that the project would ever have succeeded to the extent that it has. It's also interesting to learn that while Berners-Lee didn't personally make a fortune through the web, he nonetheless hoped from the start that it would support commercial uses as well as the free dissemination of all kinds of material, and the web has certainly delivered in both areas. Equally his hope that the web would become a "two-way" medium seems to have been realised in some form through applications such as blogging (although all that seemed a long way off in 1999 I'm sure).
The tail of the book focuses on the then-future of the web as seen 9 years ago, but in a way I felt like at that point the story was almost up-to-date - certainly while I've heard previously about the "Semantic Web" (I read about it in Peter Morville's intriguing Ambient Findability), it doesn't seem to have come to pass, or at least to have entered the mainstream yet. Maybe like some of the other ideas that he talks about, maybe it will - just not in the form he originally imagined.
Overall a really interesting read, especially if you're interested in the development of the web, and highly recommended.