HTML5 'turns web pages into computers': Berners-Lee

HTML5 'turns web pages into computers': Berners-Lee

Summary: World Wide Web founder sees new horizons with HTML5, but warns against government overreach.

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TOPICS: Web development
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In a brief appearance on BBC, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, said that HTML5 means significant design changes for the Web as we've known it.

HTML5 essentially means "every single web page out there, if you like, is like a computer," he said. "So you can program it to do whatever you want, and that's very powerful."

"When somebody designs a web page, up until now, historically, the web page was just a static document. It just had information on it. Nowadays, developers using websites can program them using HTML5," he added.

The web has been the catalyst for a tremendous surge of innovation, Berners-Lee told BBC. "People use this platform as the basis for tremendous creativity. There's incredible innovation happening out there, and people thinking of all kinds of amazing things, at any moment. The fact that the web is open, the fact that anybody can publish on it, is the key thing," he said.

The web is a liberating force, but, paradoxically, it also is a vehicle of repression as well. Berners-Lee has been speaking out against government regulation of the Internet. In the BBC interview, he cautioned: "There are governments or large companies who would really like to control the web. They'd really like to determine exactly what websites you go to. There's so much money in it."

Similarly, at a recent speech in Sydney, he warned against government attempts to capture and store the online data of private citizens. As reported by Stephen Hutcheon in The Age, he said, "...[stored] information is so dangerous, you have to think of it as dynamite." He added that this was a particular threat from any government, but was specifically addressing an Australian government data retention proposal, which would require internet service providers and telecommunication companies to store online data of all Australians for up to two years.

(Thumbnail credit: W3C.org)

Topic: Web development

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15 comments
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  • A salute to Sir Berners-Lee

    He is right.
    Ram U
    • Creator of the World Wide Web?

      Wait a minute, who said "Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web"? We've all been told Al Gore invented the Internet. We wouldn't have been misled, would we?
      ShortyStuff
      • Those terms are not interchangeable

        Why do you equate the WWW with the Internet? They are not interchangeable terms.
        huygens1962
      • Gore

        Really dumb comment
        bd048
      • Re: Creator of the World Wide Web?

        Flagged for cluelessness.
        ldo17
      • Fact

        Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the first version of HTML to allow transmission of pages on the internet. That became the World Wide Web. The Article is correct on that.

        Al Gore wrote the Senate bill that paid for the transition of the Darpanet to become a private communication channel. The format used was TCP-IP, or Transmission Control Program for packet assembly/disassembly and Internetwork Protocol for routing packets between networks and computers. This is now shortened to IP (Internet Protocol).

        Al Gore did not 'invent the internet', but, he did take the lead in the Senate for the creation of what you today call the Internet. The protocols were worked out over around two decades. The man who was the most senior of the 'Internet Creators' is named Vint Cerf. Mr. Cerf is, like Mr. Berners-Lee still involved in Internet matters. What Al Gore said was "I wrote the bill that created the Internet." That was misquoted by ignorant members of the Press for the now infamous meme. But, Mr. Cerf confirms that what Mr. Gore said was factually correct.

        Mr. Gore may be guilty of many things, but, your belief that he tried to take credit for the internet is just plain wrong.

        Oh, and the World Wide Web, which you appear to think is the internet is just a service that runs over the real internet. It is just one of dozens of of such services.
        YetAnotherBob
  • Somebody hasn't paid attention . . .

    "Prior to this, 'when somebody designs a web page, up until now, historically, the web page was just a static document. It just had information on it. Nowadays, developers using websites can program them, using HTML5.'"

    Somebody hasn't paid attention to JavaScript in the last 10+ years or so . . .

    HTML 5 didn't bring this on, JavaScript did.

    The web hasn't been static for over 10 years.
    CobraA1
    • Does Berners-Lee not know about web development?

      What about the technologies before HTML5?

      ie: ASP, ColdFusion, CGI, WebObjects, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, .NET
      wakieAU
      • Re: Does Berners-Lee not know about web development?

        HTML5 does not replace ASP(.Net), ColdFusion, Java, etc - these are server side technologies. What these technologies do is populate HTML pages (which may be HTML5) with information from databases, handle user-input, and things like that.

        HTML5 is a client-side technology, and only replaces earlier versions of HTML, Flash, and Silverlight.
        NathanSc
        • That's right

          But Berners-Lee claims that "up until now, historically, the web page was just a static document". Server-side technologies have enabled web sites to be "dynamic".
          wakieAU
          • Before HTML5...

            ...the only thing dynamic about the web was dancing hamster GIFs. ;-)

            Server-side dynamism isn't the same thing as client-side dynamism.
            jgm@...
  • In Other Words

    "HTML5 essentially means "every single web page out there, if you like, is like a computer," he said. "So you can program it to do whatever you want, and that's very powerful."

    Sounds like more avenues for malicious code.
    Scatcatpdx
    • And...

      ...more avenues for beneficial code. We don't let the former deny us access to the latter.
      jgm@...
    • Re: Sounds like more avenues for malicious code.

      Confucius say, the bigger the cup is, the more it is missing when it's half-empty, but also the more it holds when it's half-full.
      ldo17
    • client side

      Client side is always going to disturb people to some extent; but its certainly no worse than installing any native application, and advantageous in that the html5 application becomes the OS agnostic creation that has long been wished for, but never really achieved in general userspace practice.

      As an aging native c/c++ developer, I've been playing with the html5/javascript/jquery stuff recently, and I'm honestly excited about something new and worthwhile.

      This is gonna be great stuff.
      rwwff