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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

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DHTML, or Dynamic HTML, was essentially a combination of HTML, JavaScript, the newly released CSS standard, and an emerging web programming model called the DOM (Document Object Model). That said, the precise definition of DHTML depended on which browser company you spoke to: Netscape or Microsoft.

As it turned out, Microsoft’s vision for DHTML was more compelling from a technical perspective than Netscape’s (perhaps the first time that could be said about a web technology Microsoft pioneered — but it would not the last). What Microsoft wanted to achieve with DHTML was to make every element of an HTML document into a programmable object.

Read More 1997: The Year of DHTML

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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