The Web

  • Ian J. Taylor
  • Andrew B. Harrison
Part of the Computer Communications and Networks book series (CCN)


In 1959, The Sound of Music made its debut on Broadway. The run won numerous awards and the show went on to become one of the most popular musicals in history. The vocal score along with underscoring, comprises about 200 pages of manuscript. In the same year, Miles Davis arrived at Columbia studios to record his seminal album Kind of Blue. He did not arrive with 200 pages of black dots. Rather, as Bill Evans writes on the album's liner notes, he arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played, presenting to the other musicians frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performance with sure reference to the primary conception.

Miles Davis' approach to composition has much in common with the spirit in which the Web was designed, and is summed up by Tim Berners-Lee's citation of the Lao Tse poem The Space Within, the final line of which is given above. The Web has arguably become so ubiquitous, not just because of what it can do, but because of what it does not try to do. The less that is defined, the more potential there is for supporting new ideas. Hence the Web provides a very simple skeleton on which new concepts can be easily hung. The trick, however, is to ensure that new ideas themselves do not shut the door on further invention. Therefore much of the activity of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other interested parties is in defining what the Web architecture is and how it can be maintained and improved. This is a balancing act between enabling natural evolution and ensuring a consistent approach based on past experience.


Resource Description Framework Session Initiation Protocol Server Side Response Code Domain Name System 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian J. Taylor
    • 1
  • Andrew B. Harrison
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceCardiff UniversityUK

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