A Criticism of the World’s First Website

The Verge reports that the first ever website has been brought back to life at its original URL:

April 30th may seem as ordinary as any other date, but in 1993 it marked an important milestone in the development of global communications: it was on that day that the World Wide Web entered the public domain. CERN, the same research group that’s presently busy smashing protons together using the Large Hadron Collider, made World Wide Web technologies available to everyone on a royalty-free basis. Without that enlightened decision, backed by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, we might never have enjoyed the glories of GIFs, ubiquitous social networking, and instant music streaming.

In a celebration of the web’s proud history, the CERN team has started up a new project to revive the very first website at its original URL.

So, let’s have a looksie. It’s pretty spartan, yes, but that’s not the thing that bothers me. This is what bothers me:

What’s up with the hyperlinking of that space there? Apparently Timothy wasn’t much of a perfectionist. But it gets worse:

Spaces before the comma, spaces around the comma. Sure, let’s just insert random spaces and be super inconsistent. Perhaps this is due to the way the HTML is layed out?

Let’s have a look at the HTML:

What happened here? Is this generated by FrontPage ’93, or what? Name attributes without quotes, weirdly wrapped lines — wrapped in the middle of tags. And the comma-space party cannot be blamed on the use of HTML tags either, look at line 18. There’s no reason the spaces had to be there around the comma.

In many ways I’m not a perfectionist, but this kind of stuff can drive me up the wall…