© 2018

The Web Was Done by Amateurs

A Reflection on One of the Largest Collective Systems Ever Engineered

  • Authors
  • Presents the evolution of the Web by combining historical facts with its technical evolution

  • Addresses both technical and societal issues in connection with the Web’s development

  • Provides a novel analysis of the reasons behind the success of the Web

  • Written for users who want to learn more about the development of the Web, from its roots to recent trends like apps and the Internet of Things


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Marco Aiello
    Pages 1-6
  3. The Origins

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Marco Aiello
      Pages 9-20
    3. Marco Aiello
      Pages 21-38
  4. The Web

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Marco Aiello
      Pages 41-50
    3. Marco Aiello
      Pages 51-61
  5. The Patches

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 63-63
    2. Marco Aiello
      Pages 65-77
    3. Marco Aiello
      Pages 79-99
    4. Marco Aiello
      Pages 101-111
  6. System Engineering

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 113-113
    2. Marco Aiello
      Pages 115-128
    3. Marco Aiello
      Pages 129-140
    4. Marco Aiello
      Pages 141-144
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 145-168

About this book


This book stems from the desire to systematize and put down on paper essential historical facts about the Web, a system that has undoubtedly changed our lives in just a few decades. But how did it manage to become such a central pillar of modern society, such an indispensable component of our economic and social interactions? How did it evolve from its roots to today? Which competitors, if any, did it have to beat out? Who are the heroes behind its success?

These are the sort of questions that the book addresses. Divided into four parts, it follows and critically reflects on the Web’s historical path. “Part I: The Origins” covers the prehistory of the Web. It examines the technology that predated the Web and fostered its birth. In turn, “Part II: The Web” describes the original Web proposal as defined in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and the most relevant technologies associated with it. “Part III: The Patches” combines a historical reconstruction of the Web’s evolution with a more critical analysis of its original definition and the necessary changes made to the initial design. In closing, “Part IV: System Engineering” approaches the Web as an engineered infrastructure and reflects on its technical and societal success.

The book is unique in its approach, combining historical facts with the technological evolution of the Web. It was written with a technologically engaged and knowledge-thirsty readership in mind, ranging from curious daily Web users to undergraduate computer science and engineering students.


Internet History of Computing World Wide Web Computers and Society Web Development

About the authors

The son of two computer scientists, Marco Aiello was exposed early to computers. At the age of three he met Turing Award winner Alan Kay; at eight he wrote his first computer program in Logo on a TI-99/4A. In the early days of the Web, while an intern at Apple Computer in Cupertino, he wrote his first set of Web Common Gateway Interfaces. He then pursued an academic career in Europe. Currently he is Professor of Service Computing at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He is a prolific author in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence having written over 150 scientific papers and books.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
IT & Software


“Aiello (Univ. of Stuttgart, Germany) documents the history of the Web in this small but informative volume. … An excellent resource, particularly for students and professionals in computer science and engineering. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels.” (C. Tappert, Choice, Vol. 56 (7), March, 2019)