In early 1990, Tim Berners-Lee developed a global hypertext project at CERN. This project later called as the World Wide Web. At this time websites were just raw HTML documents served by simple HTTP daemons. Publishing meant editing those documents directly via a shell, or copying files edited locally up to the server.
On August 6, 1991, Tim published the first website of the world with the use of 18 HTML tags that were initially available in the markup language. This website was created, appropriately, to explain the World Wide Web to newcomers. The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents, the site reads, going on to explain how others can create their own web pages.
Since 1992, the Web attracted more and more people. Windows 95 was the operating system on which many people surfed the web for the first time, with the help of Netscape or Internet Explorer. Some of the top pioneer websites of this era are Bloomberg.com, Nexor, Wired.com, Pizza Hut, Pathfinder.com, etc.
At that time, websites were nothing but text files written in HTML and kept on a server.
The Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) contained text, links and style: font, size, colour, underlining, etc. The content remained static as the content remained unchanged, visitors received the same HTML file until somebody modified it in the server. Despite the high growth (1 million websites in 1996), this technology had limitations: as the content was static and therefore it was difficult to show different pages to different users. Also, it lacked the style and user interface remained questionable and people had to do tricks to enhance it.
The Evolution :
1. Phase I (2001-2010)
The beginning of 21st Century has seen massive improvements in the world of web. Dynamic websites came into existence.Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) acted as a game changer and turned the face of the web on its head. Despite the first version of CSS was released on December 17, 1996, but it starts gaining an immense popularity in early 2000. CSS provides features such as set colours, sizes, spacing, backgrounds, etc. In addition to adding many styling options, it enabled a centralized style definition, so that a change in the CSS file would update the style of all the different pages in a site.
With the introduction of new server technologies like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python), XAMPP facilitated many web developers across the world to focus more on backend functionalities of websites. When a user requests a dynamic page, the web server (Apache), calls a PHP program. PHP communicates with MySQL to get the data and generates an HTML output that hands to Apache, who serves it to the user and all these programs run on a Linux server.
2. Phase II (2011-2017)
The ever increasing smartphone and tablet users made way for websites which can fit into any screen size i.e easily surfable without any hassle on any device. So came the phase of responsive websites. New technology like Bootstrap is introduced to make the website responsive. Updated versions of old web languages (HTML5 & CSS3) helps to include features like videos audio, drawing canvas, vector images in the website.
Well, there is a lot to be amazed about the features the new version will have! Expectations changes from person to person and no one knows actually what we will get. But we expect to see decentralized architectures instead of central servers, unification of the implementation of services on different devices including websites, Android apps, iOS apps, etc and the use of Artifical Intelligence in web technologies.