The web was founded in the early 1990s by Tim Berners- Lee. This initial vision was lost by the use of read-only web browsers.

Web2 has made it possible to use apps, mobile and the cloud. For security reasons, data and authenticating to the apps were tightlycoupled. The Web2 era was defined by a few companies that used our data to lock us into their platforms.

Berners-Lee is working on a new data-sharing standard called Solid that could help deliver on the initial vision and a company called Inrupt is trying to help bring this vision to life. The new Web 3.0 vision for giving back control of our data is vastly different from the current Web3 efforts.

There are core features of Solid.

  1. Global single sign-on. 
  2. Global access control.
  3. Universal API centered around people instead of apps. 

Berners- Lee talked to VentureBeat about his initial idea for the web, recent progress and vision for the future.

In the beginning, it was the read-write web

The web was going to be significant from the beginning, according to Berners- Lee. He wanted it to be a read- write web. I wanted to be able to work with it and use it for my software team.

The rest of the team were engineers, but there were 13 theoretical physicists. They had to communicate using the internet, which was only becoming politically correct to use in projects.

NeXT built the first browser- editor. Adding information to websites could be done by people. As knowledge was added, corrected or extended, the team could create a new equilibrium.

He said that everyone in the team is in an equilibrium knowledge where this bit of web represents all of the work they have done.

Sidelined by Web 1.0

The initial vision was lost due to the popularity of less capable browsers that could be used on PCs and Macs.

It took off as a publishing medium and we didn't get that vision.

There were other challenges in extending the work at CERN. In a tightly controlled environment, more work was required on single sign-on, authorization and fine-grained data-sharing to scale these ideas.

Berners-Lee was not happy with the tools used to make websites. His first read-write browser took a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) approach, whereas otherHTML editors designed for publishing required a complex process of nested labels.

He said that it was amazing to find that people wrote files on the computer. I wasn't ready to do that. I wanted to highlight something so I made a link and saved it. Since Microsoft Word already did this, I thought it would be easy by 1989.

Laying the foundation

The research was done in the UK and later at MIT. He helped found Inrupt and incorporated the improvements into the Solid standard.

Berners-Lee has been using Solid to capture all of his data in a way that is easy to share. He uses a solid storage service on his Mac Mini to store his data. He is excited about how it could improve collaboration between people and businesses.

Government services, privacy-preserving medical research, and new home improvement services are supported by Solid. There is more to come. He thinks Solid could have a similar impact to the first version of the web.

He said that they should have called the first Web 0.25.

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