Looking back at the World-Wide-Web

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Published
February 20, 2019
WIscommunity in CERN browser

This brings back memories.  Many many years ago in what seems like another lifetime, I was the head of the UNIX administration team at FERMILAB. We had I believe the 3rd website in the United States. Life was much simpler then - web browsers such as they were only showed text. Links were new and exotic. I remember one day Tim Berners-Lee was visiting the lab from CERN and we had a talk about a lot of different things, one of which was this new World Wide Web thing he was working on.  I told him I was not at all sure that it could get any traction - he didn't seem too sure either, but he had the vision to have faith and I did not. This is probably why he is now Sir Tim Berners-Lee. And I am here in Downsville running a little website. 

Anyway - CERN has recently released some of the old tools from that era, including a simulation of the original CERN WordWideWeb browser (which was originally written on a NeXT computer - lovely little beasts). You might enjoy taking a look to see what life was like back then. It's fun to see how modern web sites work (or not) when browsed in a browser that doesn't understand most HTML tags and has no concept of CSS.  A quick hint -- You want Document -> Open from Full Document Reference in the menu at the top left - then type in the URL of interest. 

The picture here is what Wis.Community looks like in the CERN WorldWideWeb browser.

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WYSIWYG

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <blockquote> <br> <cite> <code> <dd> <div> <dl> <dt> <em> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <i> <img> <li> <ol> <p> <span> <strong> <table> <tbody> <td> <th> <tr> <ul>
    Allowed Style properties: background-color, border, border-color, border-style, color, float, list-style-type, padding-bottom, padding-left, padding-right, padding-top, text-align, text-decoration
  • Captions may be specified with [caption caption="Image caption"]<img src="example.png" />[/caption]. Items can be aligned with [caption align="left"].
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Images with a data-picture-mapping attribute will be responsive, with a file size appropriate for the browser width.
  • Links to Twitter status updates are converted to Embedded Tweets.
  • Twitter-style #hashtags are linked to https://twitter.com.
  • Twitter message links are opened in new windows and rel="nofollow" is added.
  • Twitter-style @usernames are linked to their Twitter account pages.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

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