Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Monday, July 21, 2008

The World Wide Web unofficial History 2/3

The Browsers War

1994, MCC changed its name to Netscape in April, and the Mosaic browser was developed further as Netscape Navigator. The company wisely hires the best young Web programmers of the world.


Arena web browser was released. It was developed by Dave Raggett at Hewlett-Packard in Bristol, England, with powerful features for positioning tables and graphics. It was first implemented to render documents conforming to the HTML+ (now known as HTML3).


Next year, Arena Web Browser becomes the W3C testbed until its final release in late 1998.

Despite its time of development, Arena is in certain areas a relatively modern browser; because it functioned as a testbed, it saw the implementation of new technologies long before they became mainstream, i.e. CSS.

First WWW Conferences took place on Europe (Geneva) and USA (Chicago). IW3C2 (International WWW Conference Committee), has been founded.

The Microsoft Internet Explorer project was started, leveraging source code from Spyglass, Inc. which delivered two versions of the Mosaic browser to Microsoft, one wholly based on the NCSA source code, and another engineered from scratch but conceptually modeled on the NCSA browser. Internet Explorer was initially built using the Spyglass, not the NCSA, source code the license to Microsoft provided Spyglass (and thus NCSA) with a quarterly fee plus a percentage of Microsoft's revenues for the software.

The IBM Web Browser was presented with OS/2 Warp (v3); it was hailed as the best browser by Internet Magazine in their November issue, and leveraged its position as the only native browser in OS/2 at that time.



The Opera browser was developed by a team of researchers at a telecommunication company called Telenor in Oslo, Norway.

May 31: MacWeb 0.98 browser was released.


CERN as a physics lab cannot continue to invest effort in an informatics project without help. Tim Berners-Lee and the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) start the W3C Consortium in the US. Tim Berners-Lee leaves CERN for MIT (December). The world has 2,500 Web Servers then.

1995, CERN and the European Commission invite INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique), to continue the European involvement. INRIA has five sites in France and is heavily involved in European projects and collaborations with similar institutes in Europe and the world.

Netscape 1.1 was released.


Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivars√ły -- left Telenor to establish Opera Software to develop the Opera browser commercially.

WWW surpasses ftp-data in March as the service with greatest traffic on NSFNet based on packet count, and in April based on byte count.

Traditional online dial-up systems (Compuserve, American Online, Prodigy) begin to provide Internet access.

Registration of domain names is no longer free. Beginning 14 September, a $50 annual fee has been imposed, which up until now was subsidized by NSF. NSF continues to pay for “.edu” registration and on an interim basis for “.gov”.

Technologies of the Year: WWW, Search engines.

Emerging Technologies were: Mobile code (JAVA, JavaScript), Virtual environments (VRML), and Collaborative tools.

Sun Microsystems produces HotJava, a browser which incorporates interactive objects.



To give individuals a voice, a user-group type organization is needed. This leads to the founding of the Web Society in Graz (Austria).

Internet Explorer 1.0, released in August. The Internet Explorer team began with about half a dozen people in early development. At one point in that year, the W3C register 700 new servers per day! Internet Explorer 2.0 was released for Windows 95, Windows NT 3.5, and NT 4.0 in November.


Traditional online dial-up systems (CompuServe, America Online, Prodigy) begin to provide Internet access. A number of Net related companies go public, with Netscape leading the pack.

Registration of domain names is no longer free. Technologies of the Year: WWW, Search engines (WAIS development).

The world has 73,500 Web Servers then.

1996, the Browser Wars begins.

Netscape Navigator 2 was released with: frames, JavaScript, and Plugins. With the Netscape 2 release Netscape successfully battled the MS giant. The Browser Wars begin: AOL bundles IE with its AOL software.


Netscape Navigator 3 released with: new plugins, background colors in tables, support for underlining, frame border control, font face styles.

Also new elements to layout (multicolumn) and spacing control (spacer). Also new: the ARCHIVE attribute and the APPLET element.

Opera 2.1 Web browser was released.


Internet Explorer 3.0 was released free of charge in August. By bundling it with Windows 95, Microsoft thus made no direct revenues on IE and was liable to pay Spyglass only the minimum quarterly fee.

This version includes: Internet Mail and News 1.0 and Windows Address Book. It also brought the browser much closer to the bar that had been set by Netscape, including support of Netscape's plugins technology (NPAPI), ActiveX, frames, and a reverse-engineered version of JavaScript named Jscript. Later, Microsoft NetMeeting and Media Player were integrated and thus helper applications became not as necessary as they once were. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were also introduced.


Netscape becomes enterprise-software purveyor, rolling out intranet- and Internet-server software packages. Microsoft and Netscape battle for the WWW and its users. Preview of Netscape Communicator 4.0 available. It adds the new LAYER element.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which had taken over HTML development, issued a consensus version, HTML 3.2.

IBM Web Browser was released with OS/2 Warp 4, based on the Mozilla Application Suite.



The world has more then 100,000 Web Servers then.

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