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Restoring the first website (cern.ch)
124 points by ColinWright 1729 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

The last time this came up I had a good time looking at the source for these early pages. A lot of HTML tags have disappeared or changed, and standards were far looser back then.

For instance, on the index page, http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, there's a <HEADER> instead of <HEAD>, and on the other pages it's missing altogether. Each A HREF has a incrementing index (the purpose of which I'm unclear of...).

It's also interesting to dive into some of the early mailing list discussions, such as the early implementations of embedding images - competing implementations were the "img" tag we know today, an "icon" tag, and other suggested a generic "object" or "embed" that would have been extensible. edit: Just remembered that one proposal was overriding the A HREF tag with a TYPE attribute that could be set to an image.

I'm surprised some of these still work, such as LISTING: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/Test/test.html

I was wondering the same thing and it seems these numbers were automatically added by the NeXT editor [1] (which also explains the special NEXTID tag in the header) and are not actually useful. They would make sense if the links where section titles for example.

    [1] http://www.the-pope.com/nextid.html

my boss is in that email thread. I was talking to him last week because he was mentioned heavily in the Dive into HTML5 guide. He was talking about the real first WWW conference in Boston in 92/93 with about 25 people where he first met Marc Andreesen, Tim Berners-Lee and they collectively wrote the form tag.

I suppose the incrementing index on A tags could have been for ordering links for tab navigation for those who were navigating websites via keyboard.


This really should go into my favorites collection.

The lack of advertising, javascript, buy now buttons, eye candy and other distractions is refreshing.

Yea, it's a shame really, I actually still really like HTML 1.0 pages. The fact that it was all markup and not layout was great and left a lot more up to the browser.

Cool - a review of Viola the first browser I ever used (in late '93):


Viola was written in Tcl/Tk by Pei Wei[1]. At the time John Ousterhout was a Professor there (and the author of Tcl/Tk) to Wei showed the browser to him. Ousterhout dismissed the entire web is not very interesting.

Source: Ousterhout told me that story himself.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pei-Yuan_Wei

The project I was working on needed a hypertext browser of some kind to link with educational simulations - I remember looking at Viola and thinking "looks cool, but why would I want to load documents over a network". Fortunately it didn't take me long to realise why that idea is rather cool :-)

Related: Here is the source code to the first web browser: http://browsers.evolt.org/?dir=archive/worldwideweb/NeXT

Really interesting to read, particularly if you understand Obj-C.

I do not know if we have made ​​the right decisions in all areas and really made ​​progress. The Internet is currently full of stupid commercial content. To the point and valuable information is hard to find. Interaction and interfaces often serve no purpose.

I wish more focus was on the content and less on making shiny things.

How is this a failure of html?

I'm not sure the grandparent post was claiming that there was a failure of HTML.

I'm hoping for a simplification of presentation on the Web as we move to mobile devices with smaller (physical) displays. I'm an optimist, so I'm hoping that people will start to present their own material instead of populating goobook and facicle as they currently seem to want to.

People often comment on the speed of loading of my vanity site; I just explain it has nothing other than text and images because that is all I need to convey my meaning. Others may need richer content and interfaces rather than documents.

"How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper

I visited CERN a few weeks ago and totally lost it when I saw that first NeXT workstation. So awesome.

Doesn't seem to load for me. Are they hosting it on the first computer too?

Here's the direct link to the first web site:


I thought so too but it turns out that, no, its not.

>The first website at CERN - and in the world - was dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself and was hosted on Berners-Lee's NeXT computer. The website described the basic features of the web; how to access other people's documents and how to set up your own server. Although the NeXT machine - the original web server - is still at CERN, sadly the world's first website is no longer online at its original address.

I hope everyone will notice that it's responsive too.

It's not responsive - it shows exactly the same UI to whichever agent is viewing it.

It is fluid width, since the maximum line-length is the width of the window.

You can have a responsive non-fluid layout by having fixed width layouts with multiple break points.

The real "FrontPage of the Internet"

Great project. I hope they succeed.

I cannot tell if this comment is ignorant or genius.

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