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Berners-Lee regrets the double-slash

In Internet URLs
Thu Oct 15 2009, 09:02

INTERNET PIONEER Sir Tim Berners-Lee has expressed regret over the addition of characters to the web's URL address system.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Berners-Lee said that the use of two forward-slash characters in the URL was unnecessary and made web site addresses needlessly long.

He explained that the intent was to separate the protocol name (such as HTTP or FTP) from the rest of the address, but as it turned out only the colon was necessary.

"Think of the amount of print that we could have saved if I would have just removed the double slash," Berners-Lee said, somewhat light-heartedly.

"But there you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

The comments came as part of a symposium interview Berners-Lee gave on the development of the web and its future direction. He noted the need for a "semantic" web that makes better use of data and presents it in new forms.

Berners-Lee is widely considered to be one of the fathers of the Internet and is often regarded as one of the greatest minds in computing history. While working at CERN in the 1980s, he developed much of the protocol and structure for what would later become the web, including the use of the HTTP protocol for transferring data.

The work earned Berners-Lee a knighthood in 2004 and three years later he was awarded the Order of Merit. Currently Berners-Lee is working at MIT as head of the World Wide Web Consortium. µ


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