from the Mosaic-browser-not-Mosaic-hops dept.
Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first text-only WWW browser. Then in 1991 four Finnish college students wrote the first graphical web browser, Erwise, but let it drop and that was the end of that. Two years later, Eric Bina and Marc Andreessen released NCSA Mosaic and, importantly, published it to an FTP site.
The very first web browser was the WorldWideWeb of Berners-Lee, but the first popularized web browser was the NCSA Mosaic Internet Web Browser. Previous web browsers were not user friendly; they lacked an intuitive and inviting way to allow people to navigate the then-new World Wide Web.In 1992 two developers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois (Marc Andreessen and Eric Brina) began working on a graphical, user friendly web browser they would later call "Mosaic". The most notable features this computer program had that other browsers lacked were the ability to view pictures directly on the page, its ease of navigation, and the way this browser handled hyperlinks. Previous browsers only showed pictures as separate files available for download that were linked to the page, so no pictures were directly visible from any main web page. Other browsers also lacked a smooth graphical interface to help navigate through the page, to include scrolling and the now-standard "back", "forward", and "refresh" buttons. Finally, the Mosaic browser was the first browser to incorporate clickable hyperlinks. Previous browsers gave reference numbers so users could manually type in the new URL, whereas this new browser allowed users to simply click the link directly to get to the desired page.
-- NCSA Mosaic Internet Web Browser: The Complete History
And from NCSA's site:
"To be sure, Mosaic deserves credit for tackling two problems. First, earlier browsers were troublesome to get up and running, while Mosaic was a lot easier, thanks largely to [NCSA developer Eric] Bina's programming skill. Second, Mosaic was the first published browser that automatically displayed pictures along with text, as in the pages of a magazine layout or an illustrated book. That was important because later on it would be the proliferation of pretty pictures that transformed that Web from the domain of scientists and hackers to a cultural phenomenon that captured the interest of the masses."
-- NCSA Mosaic™
In other words, NCSA Mosaic was released in January, 1993, making it 30 years ago this year.
Which browser did you use back when you first started with the WWW?
What would you revive from the WWW as it was when you started and what would you retain from the current WWW?