Everyone is celebrating this week as the World Wide Web turns 25. It truly is a global birthday, as few can say they have never interacted with the global network. “www.” has prefaced nearly every great startup over the past 25 years, and played a pivotal role in the development of the old stalwarts as well. But has this network gotten too much credit? Is it even responsible for its own success?
Most this week have celebrated Tim Berners-Lee for his pioneering work as the inventor of the Web. It is said that it was his proposal for an information management system in March of 1989 and his continued work as the director of the World Wide Web Consortium and the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation that has resulted in the Web’s ubiquitous acceptance and success today. This is all well and good, but here at Wellspring Software we know that there is another correlation that is generally overlooked that is at least modestly responsible for the Web’s success.
It is rarely documented and thus few realize that while the seed for the Web was planted in 1989 it was with the invention of a certain check printing software in 1990 that helped the Web gain popularity. Back in those days, the software was called LaserCheck. Developed by two young brothers, this DOS based application enabled small to mid-sized businesses to print their own checks. Today, this software’s Windows based relative is known as PrintBoss. Is it coincidence that as PrintBoss grew from its roots in 1990, the World Wide Web grew too?
“As much as most would like to say it was organic acceptance, the Web’s growth is probably more attributable to Wellspring Software and its check printing software than anything else,” an anonymous source close to the situation said this week.
“I suppose it could have been the other way around,” another Web user commented. “Did PrintBoss spread the Web, or did the Web spread PrintBoss. It’s kind of a chicken or the egg type of thing.”
“That is a ridiculous question. Obviously the Web helped spread PrintBoss more than PrintBoss spread the web,” said a clearly intoxicated Web fanatic. “PrintBoss is a check printing software for goodness sake!” Exactly.
We have reached out to Tim Berners-Lee for comment on this divisive issue, but have been told by his lawyers that he has no comment because, “Mr. Berners-Lee has no idea what you are talking about.” Sure he doesn’t. A likely story for someone who’s reputation is on the line.
Regardless of which is the driving force, the correlation between the rise of the World Wide Web and that of PrintBoss the check printing software is undeniable. But does it really matter anyway? Both save users time and money and that’s all that really matters. We’ll just call it a symbiotic relationship.