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Home > Computer Articles > Hypertext Markup Language

The History Of Hypertext Markup Language

Hypertext Markup Language, also known as HTML, is the language that is used with computers and the Internet. While the boom in the popularity of computers has been relatively recent, the history of hypertext markup language actually goes back to the middle of the 20th Century.


MEMEX – In 1945, Vannevar Bush gives the name of MEMEX (combination of the words memory and index) to a prototype of a theoretical computer system. In his theory, the MEMEX would store all information such as books, communications and records and have them quickly accessible. The MEMEX was a proto-hypertext system, and was the forerunner of what we now know as hypertext.


Project Xanadu – In 1960, Ted Nelson develops the first hypertext project, called Project Xanadu. Project Xanadu was a word processor which could store and view different versions of the document. This was one of the first uses for hypertext.


Hypertext Editing System – In 1967, Ted Nelson along with other Brown University personnel created the Hypertext Editing System. This system organized data into two main types - links and branching text. The branching text could automatically be set into menus and a point inside a set area could also have an assigned name, called a label, and be accessed later by that name from the screen. This system paved the way for modern hypertext systems.


PERQ – In 1979, several former Carnegie Mellon alumni created PERQ, which was a ground breaking workstation. This development in the use of hypertext led to many other companies entering the workstation business, which eventually led to the personal computer.


Knowledge Management System – In 1983, the Knowledge Management System, or KMS, was developed to let many users collaborate in creating and ultimately sharing information within large, shared hypertext, and from the very beginning, the system was designed as a multi-user system. This was the foundation for networking solutions of today.


The World Wide Web – In 1990, the World Wide Web was introduced. The web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents contained on the Internet. With use of a web browser, browsers can view world wide web pages that can have text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them by using hyperlinks. The web was developed by using concepts from earlier hypertext systems.

More On Hypertext

Hypertext systems have played a large role in the development of computer workstations, networking and the Internet. Here is some additional information on hypertext systems:

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