The ghost of browsers past
We poked at the markup of the first ever website…
- What’s that
NEXTIDelement? Turns it out it’s something specific to the NeXT operating system.
- Why does the first iteration of HTML already contain
H6? It’s because they were lifted wholesale from a flavour of SGML—Standard Generalized Markup Language—that was already in use at CERN.
Then there was the story of the line-mode browser. It was created by Nicola Pellow, who was a student at CERN in 1990. She later worked on the Mac browser but her involvement with kickstarting the world wide web ended around 1993. She never showed up to any of the reunions.
We poked around in the (surprisingly short) source code of the line-mode browser. We found the lines that described how elements should be styled—the term “style sheet” appeared in a comment!
script tags in the
head of the document—gets rendered to the screen.
<!-- is functionally equivalent to
--> comment with a
I remember doing this when I first started making websites in the 90s. You can see it if you view source on the first version of this website.
Later on, we all switched to XHTML so we updated the syntax to make it valid XML.
type attribute of every
script element to
text/plain, effectively defusing them. Smart!