1993 was the year of Mosaic, the first truly multimedia web browser. The Web was still very niche by the end of 1993, but it was pushing on the door of the mainstream. Early adopters in companies like MTV were experimenting with it, while curious reporters were beginning to publicize it. CERN had done its part too, by gifting the World Wide Web to the world so that anyone was free to build on top of it.
Read More 1993: Mosaic Launches and the Web is Set Free
Throughout 1992, there were just a scattering of websites on the World Wide Web — somewhere between ten and twenty. So the Web in 1992 was still a niche system, used almost entirely by academics. However, there were signs that the Web was starting to get noticed by people who used other internet protocols, like Gopher. Also, two significant new web browsers were launched: ViolaWWW and Erwise.
Read More 1992: The Web vs Gopher, and the First External Browsers
By 1999, Netscape had fallen behind Microsoft in browser technology. It also had trouble navigating relationships — with both its new parent AOL and the developers of its open source project, Mozilla. By the end of 1999, Netscape was a startup shipwreck. Fortunately, the good ship Mozilla was in much sturdier shape.
Read More 1999: The Fall of Netscape and the Rise of Mozilla
It may seem like Microsoft won the browser war in 1998 (despite a looming anti-trust case), but looking back it, was actually the year the web started to open up. It was when open source projects like Mozilla and open standards like DOM began to steer the web towards a more open, equitable future. It was also the year that a coalition of independent web developers arrived on the scene to promote open standards — The Web Standards Project (WaSP). All of these developments would impact the web’s direction for years to come.
Read More 1998: Open Season with Mozilla, W3C’s DOM, and WaSP
After Microsoft upped the ante in the browser market in 1996 by integrating Internet Explorer 3.0 into Windows, Netscape began the new year with a renewed focus on the open web. Co-founder and CTO Marc Andreessen and the Netscape product team introduced a new strategy called “crossware.”
Read More 1997: Netscape Crossware vs the Windows Web
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
Read More 1996: Netscape Lays the Groundwork For Web Applications