Reminiscences was: A bit OT - Urban Myths?

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Wed Jul 16 14:51:15 BST 2003

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On Wed, Jul 16, 2003 at 02:20:23PM +0100, Frank Shute wrote:

> > I think 1980 is a bit too early.  As I heard the story, the whole web
> > concept was inspired by Scientists at CERN sending each other LaTeX
> > documents, and using a NeXTSTEP program to view the formatted text.

> IBM make/made a plugin for Netscape to view LaTeX: techexplorer but I
> thought WWW was developed at CERN for shunting around and linking any
> sort of documentation. ie. html and http were sort of developed
> alongside each other.

Yup.  I was mistaken.  It wasn't the concept of the WWW so much ---
which goes back a lot longer than 1980, but rather TBL's
implementation that was inspired by the LaTeX viewer.  The need for
HTML however was more to do with getting away from the restrictive
document formatting requirements CERN had at the time.

Heh --- just think how much bandwidth would be saved if the LaTeX-ish
style of markup \foobar{...} had been adopted, rather than the
SGML-ish <foobar>...</foobar>.  Maybe it's all the programming in
languages that use {} as delimiters for blocks of code, but I find
that style a lot easier to read than a typical chunk of XML.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK

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