Author: ricmac

Post thumbnail

If CGI scripts were the start of interactive programming on the web, then PHP was the natural next step — at least on the server-side. Just a month after Brendan Eich created the JavaScript scripting language at Netscape, an independent developer from Canada named Rasmus Lerdorf released the first version of a toolset he called Personal Home Page Tools (PHP Tools). At this point, it wasn’t a scripting language (although it would eventually become one). As of June 1995, when Lerdorf announced the project to the comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi mailing list, it was a utility library and templating engine for the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). In modern terms, we can think of it as similar to a JavaScript library like React — although obviously much less complicated, since this was 1995.

Read More 1995: PHP Quietly Launches as a CGI Scripts Toolset

Post thumbnail

A couple of years before JavaScript was invented, a specification called the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) enabled an early form of interactivity for web pages. While a CGI script wasn’t a dynamic component in the browser, like JavaScript was, it did allow early web users in 1993 and 1994 to run interactive programs. In many ways then, it was CGI — not JavaScript — that was the start of web applications.

Read More 1993: CGI Scripts and Early Server-Side Web Programming

Post thumbnail

In March 1996, at Microsoft’s annual Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Bill Gates announced a set of internet technologies called ActiveX. “Part of the unique thing that Microsoft is doing,” he said regarding Microsoft’s approach to the Internet, “[…] is a strong level of integration into Windows.” It was the moment Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and other web-focused companies had feared — Microsoft was embedding the Internet into its powerful Windows ecosystem.

Read More 1996: Microsoft Activates the Internet With ActiveX & JScript

Post thumbnail

After the Mother Of All Demos in late 1968, solid progress was made in building out the oN-Line System (NLS) over 1969. In a 1970 “final report” by Engelbart and his staff at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC), the hardware and software of NLS developed over the past couple of years is outlined. The report states that “the configuration of the ARC computer facility has been relatively stable over the past two years,” but there “have been some peripheral additions, in particular the ARPA network interface and an external core system.”

Read More 1969: Building the oN-Line System

Post thumbnail

For all of the technical wizardry in Netscape Navigator 2.0, when it was first released JavaScript was put to use in fairly trivial ways — scrolling text, silly animations, tricks with colors (fading, rainbow effects, and so on). Inventor Brendan Eich called these initial use cases “annoyances.” But there was also an underlying power, especially with the beginnings of the DOM.

Read More 1996: JavaScript Annoyances and Meeting The DOM

Netscape 1995 Netscape 1995

JavaScript was invented in a two-week flurry in May 1995 by Brendan Eich, at the time a newly hired developer at browser company Netscape. The project was initiated by Netscape because of a desire to extend the early Web beyond the limits of HTML. In particular, Netscape wanted to add interactivity to websites. JavaScript ended up being the solution and this post explores how that came to be.

Read More 1995: The Birth of JavaScript