Browsers: Windows on the Web
Windows on the Web
The Web’s extraordinary tapestry of images and text are presented to us by web browsers. They are only one component of the Web, along with servers and communications protocols, but they are the most visible.
Whoever writes the dominant browser software decides, by intention or omission, what we can see and do on the Web.
Browsers: The First Wave (1990-1993)
Tim Berners-Lee’s 1990 browser-editor ran on rare NeXT computers. CERN refused to fund other versions. So the Web team invited volunteers to write browsers, and provided code to start with.
Eight responded, creating UNIX, Mac, and PC browsers. Viola and Midas were initially the most popular, eclipsed later by Mosaic. Berners-Lee never regained control of his creation.
Mosaic, the first browser supported by a major institution, started the Web on the road from research project to blockbuster success.
Written by brilliant student Marc Andreessen and UNIX expert Eric Bina at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Mosaic was modeled on the Viola and Midas browsers and also used the CERN code library. But unlike others, it was reliable, could be installed by amateurs, and soon added colorful graphics within Web pages instead of as separate windows.
Mosaic spread quickly. NCSA assigned teams to write UNIX, Mac, and PC versions, and servers.
Maintained by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, this page showcased recent news about the Web.View Artifact Detail
Marc Andreessen had roughed out a Mosaic demo during his 1992 Christmas vacation, and then recruited his friend Bina to help him write the Unix browser. Andreessen unofficially led students working on Mac and PC browsers, and on the Web server.View Artifact Detail