Though typing it out is rarely required these days, “http://” is essential to the web’s DNA. But, like trolls, pop-up ads, and political Facebook rants, it turns out the // is another unnecessary staple of the Internet.
In an interview with GeekWire on Sunday, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee said he would remove the double forward-slash if he were to go back in time.
When Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago, he included the // to indicate a page started at the top, not lower down at the next slash. But later, he realized he could’ve made the syntax simpler and web addresses would have been just as functional.
“I suppose the classic thing is of the http://,” he said. “I could have designed out the //, made it unnecessary and that would have saved so many keystrokes since then, but that wouldn’t have been a fundamental change. It would have been a little cosmetic change.”
When it comes to fundamental changes, Berners-Lee thinks the current domain system is flawed. He criticized domain squatting and suggested the whole system be run by a non-profit.
Berners-Lee chatted with GeekWire in advance of the foreveryone.net premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. The documentary illustrates the significance of net neutrality issues and human rights, as they relate to the web.