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The History of Web Browsers

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The History of Web Browsers

This History of Web Browsers

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About the Author

Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions. He’s also a web developer/designer who specializes in distance-learning education, front-end development, and web accessibility. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page and follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

This was published on Sep 30, 2009

57 Comments

D Bnonn Tennant Sep 30 2009

A nice roundup, but I’m confused—is it Mosaic or Mosiac?

Karega Sep 30 2009

I always felt that I.E. held a decisive advantage in terms of user-experience over all other browsers. The line has become blurred since the release of FF 1.0 and the field is leveling. I believe that I.E. lack of standards and w3c proposal adoption will be a strong blow against penetration of it’s next-generation browsers.

most stupid article ever.

Rahul - Web Guru Sep 30 2009

Nice list of web browser evolution.

cypherbox Sep 30 2009

It’s so nice to know the history of the browsers. This is very informative post. Thanks!

Erik mit k Oct 01 2009

Really cool!

Bt shouldn’t the browser in 1993 be called “Mosaic” and NOT “Mosiac”! :)

Armin Oct 01 2009

Nice work, but actually it was “Mosaic” and not “Mosiac”…

Thanks for share with us.

Pedro Oct 01 2009

It’s Mosaic, not Mosiac.

Ray Pettersson Oct 01 2009

I will definitely use this to teach my clients a little bit about web history and convince them to stop using Internet Explorer! By the way, I think you misspell “Mosaic”. Great article! Thanks a lot!

eeeh, Mosiac??? Mosaic would be right ;)

The best is Firefox :D

Jacob Gube Oct 01 2009

Hello everyone. Thanks for catching that glaring error. I had 1 out of the 3 “Mosaic” instances correct though! I’ve since corrected the graphic.

Thank you for noting the mistake to make the graphic more accurate, and I apologize for the oversight.

Jeff.K Oct 01 2009

This has been done already much better than this; what a horrible overview and you miss some other browsers in between and other significant events. But to be expected of an internet nuub! You definitly weren’t around long on teh internets lol And one giant graphic? come on this is a WEB page you failed at any semantic value this should have by being broken down to, what, oh, a WEB PAGE and not a giant useless jpg

Angela Oct 01 2009

Great Article, Firefox rocks I see my sis using IE and I cringe now lol

Waheed Akhtar Oct 01 2009

Very nicely prepared and explained.
Thanks for sharing Jacob.

Sean Hurley Oct 01 2009

Really cool break down! Do you have anything comparing the major browsers? Google, Bing, and Yahoo? Difference in design , functionality, etc?

Jim Summer Oct 01 2009

Fun fact – dating back over a decade to the present… type about:mozilla in a mozilla based browser :~) – Would have been nice to see the evolution of Firefox from Phoenix thru Firebird and eventually, Firefox.
Thanks!
Jim – @seo_web_design on twitter

I appreciated this post very much, even with the spelling error. All of us know what you meant. Anyway, nice writing! I love computer history, so it was fun to walk down memory lane.

Paiman Roointan Oct 01 2009

Good start, but seems the writer was tired at the end!
where are IE8? FF2 and 3? FF download record? safari on windows? new opera 10 with new features? and many other things?

Where’s Lynx? That’s the first browser I ever used. It was out before Mosaic was available. Circa ’92. This was/is a text-based browser. In ’92 most of the Web was text-based.

Jay Carlson Oct 01 2009

um, one more slight information mix-up: you have given credit to Tim Berners-Lee as the inventor of the internet, when it was clearly invented by Al Gore.

Morgan Cheng Oct 01 2009

Nice work.

The war continues with Google Chrome Frame which is a infiltration into Microsoft IE’s domain.

Brad C Oct 01 2009

Nicely done. Using a graphical approach was more fun than just posting screenshots with descriptions.

I’m assuming by “top action bar” you’re talking about the address bar. The row of buttons (the “toolbar”) already existed in many apps, and was graphically codified and promoted by Microsoft in the first GUI coding guidelines for Windows 3 (early 1990). I still have my notebook from Microsoft University where we wrote a Tic-Tac-Toe app where fully 2/3rds of the code was toolbar code!

In contrast, X-Windows Unix apps liked big slab-like buttons, also usually arrayed along the top, or they would have vertical text toolbars, as you show in TB-L’s first browser (written on a NeXTcube)

Jacob Gube Oct 01 2009

@Sean Hurley: Wow, you just inspired me on a potential topic, thanks for that! (If i ever get around to making something like that – I’ll place a credit to your comment here).

@Jim Summer: Yet another great idea for this format. That can be tricky to do but worth the effort (I’d have to scour the internet for screen grabs of beta releases of FF).

@Dan: Thanks Dan – what I would hate to have happen is that everything gets glossed over because of a spelling mistake. I acknowledge the fault, and I corrected it as soon as I could.

@Paiman Roointan: All milestones that could’ve been included here.

@john: I was anticipating someone would leave that comment about Lynx. I chose to focus on graphical web browsers, but you’re right that Lynx is a pioneering web browser. Originally, the graphic had a note about how it was on “graphical browsers”, but I chose to edit that bit out for superficial reasons in the final version (regretting it now).

@Jay Carlson: Haha! :) And because I’m a jerk, I’d like to point out here that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (or “the web”), not the internet. Internet protocols that we use today already existed or were being developed when he proposed the world wide web ideas, he just brought them all together to construct an internet-connected information medium (world wide web). However, I do understand that the world wide web and “the internet” has become synonymous and interchangeable terms in our lexicon.

Zaki Usman Oct 01 2009

Excellent wrap up. Question is what will happen in 2010?

Derek Oct 01 2009

Safari 4 FTW. I like the way it interacts natively with OSX. Firefox feels cumbersome in comparison.

..but heck, I hate Google and I’d consider using Chrome before I even touch IE again.

That was pretty fun. I would like to see some real numbers on who is where statistically. If you look close at the stats you find online the sites have the fine print (from users that visited this site) and in most cases it is us techy nerds visiting the site and not the ie users.

A minor note of correction: Andreessen formed Mosaic Communications Corporation (mcom.com) releasing “Mosaic Netscape”. The company changed its name later to avoid TM issues.

Jacob Gube Oct 01 2009

@Roy: Toolbar is a better (and more accurate) term for it, thanks for the information.

@Brad C: Partly inspired by your infocomics – though I can’t draw (like you can)! I feel it gives me a break and I have a bit more liberty in terms of layout.

I must confess though that I got lazy with the longdesc alternative for screen reader users – I’m going to get that up soon.

@Derek: Any particular reason for the Google hate? I currently use Google Chrome when I’m off-duty since I think it handles RIA’s and websites that use Ajax heavily (i.e. Digg) much better than Firefox’s most recent release. I can’t say I’m much of a Safari fan, though I’d use it over IE (7 and below).

Martín Aberastegue Oct 01 2009

Hi Jacob, great list but try to reflect the truth the next time about where the inspiration came from :P. You say IE7 took some features from FF like tabbed browsing and antiphishing… yes, the same FF adopted from Opera…You missed IE8!

Chris 'Xenon' Hanson Oct 01 2009

Where is Chrome?

How about a mention of Konqueror and KHTML, which were the real genesis behind WebKit in Apple’s Safari?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KHTML

You didn’t think Apple invented that from scratch, did you?

taufiqahmed Oct 01 2009

not much elaborated, a quick rushed out review perhaps. I should have been share the article.
btw, IE7 tab feature adopted from FF?? Google Chrome is lightweight?

Chris Oct 02 2009

And whats for the actual browser war and browser share? In some areas Firefox 3.x is already the leading browser. And what about IE8? The basics of your overview are nice, but it lacks at lot of details essential for “the browser story”.

Propagganda Oct 02 2009

Excelent recopilation. Thanks

Shitic Oct 02 2009

and my browser history:
IE6 > IE7 > IE8 > FF 3.5 > G.Chrome / FF 3.5 > G.Chrome / Opera Unite > G.Chrome
I’m using the google’s chrome now.

cool, I had no idea opera has been around that long, I just thought they released new versions a lot.

Leave a Comment Oct 02 2009

jeff K hit this one on the head, why are you guys supporting this crap? this isn’t creative or original and not ground breaking, this is god awful and stop inspiring this crap

Diego Oct 03 2009

I’m currently on Chrome too. Specially at home. At work, I do deal with a lot of unfortunate IE6-only stuff (knowledge mangement, in RoboHelp specially); must say it is a mess, but lately we look at the breaking of IE6 more like a team building activity hahaha. Also use FF 3.x at work and at home. Not sure why, Chrome is way more efficient to me.

Why don’t some of you know-it-all douchebags write your own “perfect” article.

not much elaborated, a quick rushed out review perhaps. I should have been share the article.
btw, IE7 tab feature adopted from FF?? Google Chrome is lightweight?

Linux And Friends Oct 06 2009

Wow that is one huge image. Nevertheless tastefully done.

You have not covered some of the more prominent albeit lesser known web browsers such as Konqueror, Galeon, Dillo, Text only browsers like Links and so on.

Nice compilation though.

Google chrome I just like it!

glyconutrients Oct 06 2009

Missing two VERY important ones.

Lynx, which was already mentioned by another reader, and AOL, which was HUGE in mid-late 90’s.

I also think it is important to indicate release of IE and NN 4.0 as this there were MAJOR changes in stylesheets, DHTML, etc.

Jason Oct 06 2009

@HO Firefox tabs where there well before Chrome was a gleam in Google’s eye.

Web 2.0 Oct 22 2009

Well I didn’t know that Mozilla was formed in 1998… my browser is FireFox.. great work, thanks!

P Smith Nov 17 2009

Calling this a “history” is like calling a couple of index cards an encyclopedia. There are so many more facets of browser history such as Mosaic being open source and borrowed/stolen for Netscape and Microshaft’s Spyglass (later Infernal Exploder), the plethora of niche browsers (many based on Active-X) in the late 1990s, and the failed history of WAP.

zoomzoom Nov 29 2009

Jeff.K: seems like you are some immature kid. seen your “website” and you dont have any right to criticize this awesome article.

alexlex Jan 06 2010

Nice work, my browser is FireFox.. great work, thanks!

Michelle Feb 05 2010

What about Lynx? I used that all the time in the early 90’s. I had no graphic capability until 1998 or so, and Lynx was an ideal text-based browser for my situation.

History of Web browsers is not limited to the creation of websites, as well as a compilation of data and other data.

gouri pawar Jul 28 2010

hi….
I am not satisfied with these evolution , I need more information….

rob harris Oct 02 2010

What about that sweet browser AOL had…

Joe Alone Jul 04 2011

For a more complete browser history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_web_browsers

hi… thank you very much for your post… this one really helped us in our assignments….

wishing for a complete list..

thanks :)

Iunisi Sep 03 2012

these history is realy a great help…because im currently work on a assignment, but the worst thing is, i dnt understand and im confuse of thoase comment above, because i dnt know if this the whole history of browser…

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