CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) to celebrate the 30th anniversary has rebuilt what was originally the first web browser in the world WorldWideWeb.
This means you can now see what surfing the World Wide Web was like back in 1990, using an application fittingly called WorldWideWeb. As most people already know, the web was born in a lab at CERN.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for “a large hypertext database with typed links”. By the end of 1990, all of the necessary elements we still use today were in place.
This included HTTP, HTML, server software, a web server, and the first web pages. And to navigate it all was an application called WorldWideWeb: a web browser and web editor.
You can try WorldWideWeb for yourself right from within the browser you’re currently using. Just open this page and you’ll see what Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues were faced with in 1990.
Most strikingly, there’s no address bar, so you’ll have to jump through some hoops before surfing the web. It’s actually not that difficult once you know how.
Just launch WorldWideWeb, select “Document” from the left-hand sidebar, click “Open from full document reference”, type the URL you want to visit into the “Reference” field, and then click “Open”.
CERN has more resources for you to explore. There’s a potted history of the technology, a timeline of development, a guide to using the browser, and a look at the code underpinning it all.