HTTP still exists. HTTP successfully evolved from 0.9
into 1.0 and later 1.1.
And still it evolves.
HTML still exists. at rudimentary data format — it
didn’t even support inline images! — successfully
evolved into 2.0, 3.2, 4.0. HTML is an unbroken line. A
twisted, knoed, snarled line, to be sure. ere were
plenty of “dead branes” in the evolutionary tree,
places where standards-minded people got ahead of
themselves (and ahead of authors and implementors).
But still. Here we are, in 2010, and
web pages from
1990 still render in modern browsers. I just loaded one
up in the browser of my state-of-the-art Android
mobile phone, and I didn’t even get prompted to
“please wait while importing legacy format…”
HTML has always been a conversation between
browser makers, authors, standards wonks, and other
people who just showed up and liked to talk about angle braets. Most of the
successful versions of HTML have been “retro-specs,” cating up to the world while
simultaneously trying to nudge it in the right direction. Anyone who tells you that
HTML should be kept “pure” (presumably by ignoring browser makers, or ignoring
authors, or both) is simply misinformed. HTML has never been pure, and all aempts to
purify it have been spectacular failures, mated only by the aempts to replace it.
None of the browsers from 1993 still exist in any recognizable form. Netscape Navigator
abandoned in 1998 and
rewrien from scrat to create the Mozilla Suite, whi was
forked to create Firefox. Internet Explorer had its humble “beginnings” in “Microso
Plus! for Windows 95,” where it was bundled with some desktop themes and a pinball
game. (But of course that browser
can be traced ba further too.)
Some of the operating systems from 1993 still exist, but none of them are relevant to the
modern web. Most people today who “experience” the web do so on a PC running
Windows 2000 or later, a Mac running Mac OS X, a PC running some ﬂavor of Linux,
or a handheld device like an iPhone. In 1993, Windows was at version 3.1 (and
competing with OS/2), Macs were running System 7, and Linux was distributed via
Usenet. (Want to have some fun? Find a graybeard and whisper “Trumpet Winso” or
Some of the same people are still around and still involved in what we now simply call
“web standards.” at’s aer almost 20 years. And some were involved in predecessors
HOW DID WE GET HERE?