Little Bits of History

WorldWideWeb Browser

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 26, 2011

NeXT Computer used by Berners-Lee at CERN - the world's first web server. (photo by Coolcaesar)

February 26, 1991: Tim Berners-Lee introduces his WorldWideWeb browser, the first stable web browser in the world. It was a WYSIWYG [pronounced – whiz-e-wig] meaning What You See Is What You Get and HTML or Hypertext Markup Language editor as well. It used both FTP [File Transfer Protocol] as well as HTP [ Hypertext Transfer Protocol] and was the only way to access the World Wide Web, hence the name. To avoid confusion, the name was changed to Nexus.

A web browser is a software application for a computer. This application allows the user to interact with text, images, and other information via the World Wide Web. Information is displayed on web pages within the browser program after a connection to the Internet is established via an Internet Service Provider. Protocols are the methods or rules that allow your computer to communicate with a web server – another computer hosting or storing uploaded web pages. HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol allows your computer to “fetch” a webpage that someone else has created and stored on a server.

As browsers developed, so did the Internet and conversely, as the Internet developed, browsers did, too. New and improved browsers have continued to flourish produced by competing entities, sometimes to the detriment of the end users. Microsoft developed the proprietary Trident layout engine used in Internet Explorer and various other browsers who have paid a licensing fee. Mozilla Foundation developed the open-source Gecko layout engines that are also used in a variety of browsers. Trident is used more frequently but Gecko is a more compliant engine meaning it works and plays well with others.

Tim Berners-Lee was born in 1955 in London to two mathematicians. He is the inventor of the World Wide Web [sorry Mr. Gore], the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT. He is also the recipient of The Millennium Technology Prize. While attending Oxford University, he and a friend were found hacking computers and were banned from all computers during the rest of their stay. That has not appeared to slow Tim down. He now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts and is a leading voice for Net Neutrality, a preservation of the system he envisioned so long ago.

“Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.”

“You affect the world by what you browse.”

“Sites need to be able to interact in one single, universal space.”

“They may call it a home page, but it’s more like the gnome in somebody’s front yard than the home itself.” – all from Tim Berners-Lee

Also on this day:
Waist Overalls – In 1829, Levi Strauss was born.
Grand Canyon National Park – In 1919, a new national park is established.

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2 Responses

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  1. GYSC said, on February 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Awesome post! Plenty of Friday night material here! Do you know anything about project Moho?

  2. patriciahysell said, on February 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

    No, sorry, I don’t. My area of ignorance is vast.


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