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WWW inventor admits forward slashes 'a mistake'

October 14, 2009 18:56 IST
Nearly two decades after he invented the world wide web, British scientist Sir Tim Berners -Lee has admitted that "forward slashes" in Internet addresses "were a mistake".

Claiming the // at the front of a web address was pointless and unnecessary, Sir Tim confessed at a recent talk in US that at the time of creating the www, he had failed to predict how much effect what he was producing would have on people now.

"When I designed the URL, this thing which starts http://, the slash was to indicate we're actually starting at the top, not starting down at the next slash. Really, if you think about it, it doesn't need the //. I could have designed it not to have the //. Boy, now people on the radio are calling it 'backslash backslash'.

"People are having to use that finger so much. Look at all the paper and trees that could have been saved if people had not had to write or type out those slashes on paper over the years -- not to mention the human labour and time spent typing those two keystrokes countless millions of times in browser address boxes," the media quoted him as saying.

He said these while speaking at a symposium organized by Finland's Technology Academy Foundation, and hosted in the Finish Embassy in Washington DC, on the future of technology.

Sir Tim invented the web while working at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland 20 years ago. In his spare time, he developed a revolutionary idea of linking pages which he named the world wide web, and launched the first website in 1991.

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