The World Wide Web created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee is 20 years old today. Even though I’m not the most qualified person to say this, its seems like several eternities have passed when you take a look at all that’s been accomplished.
And yet at the same time, it also feels like things have only started falling in place—ubiquitous and high-speed connections, uncompromised content delivery on mobile devices, live streaming and other real-time services, data portability and APIs, and so on. Some feel that the Web can be better, but it has to be rebuilt from the ground up:
Instead of merely jury-rigging fixes into the existing Internet, Peterson and Rexford believe much can be learned about possible improvements by designing a new network from the ground up — one that parallels the existing Internet, on which researchers can run their most innovative experiments.
If we have to revamp the Web it’s better to do so now, or sooner rather than later.
Maybe the infrastructure itself doesn’t need the overhaul, but only certain features. Thomas Baekdal considers a new domain system. Internet Explorer is reportedly getting a brand new browser rendering engine, taking a cue from Google Chrome. And dare I include the Web 2.0 phenomenon, which to its credit wasn’t a complete fad: we got YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter from it, after all. All address different aspects of the Web, but each one’s a game-changer in its own right.
The key here is people are rethinking rather than building on top of things. But will it come full circle, only for people to realize too late that starting from scratch was a much better way? The endeavor feels so large and drastic that it’s too daunting to even consider.