Applications escaped the well-controlled computer-room environment in the early 1980s with the advent of personal computers and networks. Perhaps it was the computer operators’ white lab coats, the pocket protectors, or the horn-rimmed glasses, but applications couldn’t take it anymore. They needed a break and wanted a life. Can you blame them?
While application technology developed, we saw smart terminals that had field editing capabilities (cough . . . most of you readers weren’t yet born when these terminals were prevalent) and, later on, two-tier and three-tier client-server applications in which some of the application logic ran on a server and some of it ran on a PC. Client-server technology looked really good on paper (and on those fancy new whiteboards), but it never measured up to its potential.
Then in 1990-1993, Eric Bina, Marc Andreesson, Tim Berners-Lee, and Robert Cailliau developed the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and the first popular web browser called Mosaic, which sported such features as hyperlinks and web pages that contained pictures and text. Thousands of people downloaded Mosaic, which was available for PC, Mac, and UNIX-based operating systems. Distributed applications (applications made up of distinct components on networked computers) were on the rise, and the Web was cool and really fast — until the general public found out about it and ruined it. Seriously, though, a lot of neat and relevant technologies were born out ...