Making a difference – Browsers

Tim Berners-Lee’s 1990 program, WorldWideWeb was the first browser. Developed on a NeXTSTEP computer, it incorporated many of its interface features. Then, in 1993, Lynx, a completely text-based browser, was introduced to allow users of dumb terminals (and often PC users with very slow dial-up connections) to surf the Web.

A couple of months before Lynx came out, NCSA Mosaic, the foundation for most of today’s browsers, was released by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Mosaic ported the hitherto Unix-based application to Windows, and added graphics to the pages. Web use exploded.

Netscape Navigator gradually supplanted Mosaic, and then another of its offshoots, Microsoft Internet Explorer, pushed Netscape aside. Now, Mozilla Firefox, developed from the Netscape Communicator code base open sourced in 1998, is nibbling away at Internet Explorer’s dominance.

To combat this, Microsoft has just released Internet Explorer 7, which apes many of the features that have made alternative browsers such as Firefox and Opera so popular, such as a tabbed interface.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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