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CERN has made the original 1990s web browser available to play with

IF YOU are the sort of person that dresses in steampunk, listens to acid swing and watches eighties revival shows, then you’re going to love this one.

The original web browser, created by Tim Berners-Lee during his CERN phase, is now available for you to play with.

CERN has rebuilt the original 1990 browser – called, appropriately enough WorldWideWeb – as a browser-within-a-browser, like a sort of Inception situation, but with fewer cat gifs.

What’s really striking here is the simplicity – no pictures, no stupid fonts (even Comic Sans isn’t represented) and the home page hasn’t even been spellchecked properly, giving a rustic charm, married with an OCD nightmare.

Navigation is faffy and involves opening a menu, then a dropdown, then typing in the URL or keyword. It’s all a far cry from getting Cortana to do it – and bookmarks are still a glint in TBL’s iPad.

It wasn’t long before the more familiar tropes of a web browser started to appear, not least of all colour and photography.  In 1992, the ‘first’ photo (it may not be, but it’s generally attributed as such), a picture of CERN’s comedy house do-wop band, Les Horribles Cernettes was posted by TBL himself.

If we’re honest, being able to access a 28-year old piece of software falls into the “get your cash machine running Doom” school of fun-but-pointless, however as an educational tool for the youngsters who believe that Instagram has just always been there, will have its own comedy value as their faces drop like so many middle-aged Horribles Cernettes.

What it does do, is it puts into sharp focus just how far technology has come in the last quarter of a century.

As you’d expect there are more resources to back up the newly recreated browser if that’s your thing, including the source code, which modern developers can rip apart and giggle at.

It’s undoubtedly a watershed piece of software and deserves to be preserved for posterity, and its only slightly worse, by today’s standards than Microsoft Edge.

Travel back in time at this link. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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