Information Management, a Proposal

While working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee submits his original proposal for the World Wide Web, titled “Information Management, a Proposal.” Contained within was an outline of what would become the World Wide Web, originally designed as a way of organizing documents and directories throughout CERN.

WWW Virtual Library

Tim Berners-Lee creates the WWW Virtual Library as a way of listing new websites. Site owners could personally email Berners-Lee their new site to put up, and he would. The Library originally lives on CERN’s website, and is later moved to its own site.

A Brief History of Hypertext

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

Tim Berners-Lee publicly links to a draft of HTML, the first language of the web, on the www-talk mailing list. Berners-Lee had been working on a new hypertext language for some time, and was influenced by similar efforts like SGML. HTML is used to markup web documents for display by a web browser.

NCSA Mosaic

NCSA releases Mosaic version 1.0, which would go on to become the most successful, of the early web browsers. It was developed by Marc Andresson and Eric Bina and featured an easy to use GUI, with a host of graphical and groundbreaking features.

The Origin of the IMG Tag

How We Searched Before Search

NCSA What’s New

NCSA, the company behind Mosaic, creates What’s New, a webpage that highlights the most popular new sites updated every weekday. The page is added to the Mosaic browser homepage and receives quite a bit of traffic.

World Web Wanderer first deployed

Matthew Gray develops the World Wide Web Wandering using web crawling to collect data about websites and store it in a single database called the Wandex. It contains some search-like functionality but is mostly used to keep tabs on statistics related to web usage.

Global Network Navigator

The web’s first commercial publication, GNN sets up an interactive guide to the web alongside news stories and links to popular sites, updated regularly. It would later become the first site to experiment with advertising.


Building on the success of lists like What’s New and the WWW Virtual Library, W3Catalog works by curating and combining a number of popular website lists in one place. The site operates using a web scraper built by Oscar Nierstrasz.

The earliest example of a single serving website, Jeff Abrahamson quietly launches The site is purple. Just purple. Though it originally is released with a background color of #DD00FF, this is later changed to #7D26CD to make the site more “purple” looking.

W3C Interactive Talk

W3C releases Interactive Talk, a form based discussion system. Interactive Talk is the first attempt at creating software that allows for two way conversation and is used mostly internally at the W3C. In the years to come, it would become the template for forums and message board software.

Netscape Navigator

Marc Andresson and his team release Netscape after leaving NCSA Mosaic. Originally attached with a licensing fee for commercial use, Netscape became one of the most popular browsers in the world, until it was overwhelmed by competition from Microsoft in the Browser Wars.

Hotwired serves as Wired‘s first online presence. Hotwired would become the first commercial web magazine on the web. The site’s design is immediately recognized as cutting edge, and is redesigned on an almost yearly basis.

Feed Magazine

As a sort of balance to the techno-idealist view of Hotwired magazine, Stefanie Syman and Steven Johnson start Feed, a web zine with thoughtful, in-depth pieces about news, the tech scene and culture. Feed joins Automatic Media in 200, and officially closes its doors in 2001.

Why Batman Forever is so Important for the Web

Batman Forever Site

Batman Forever represents one of the first major marketing and visual design efforts on the web. The site features a few experimental technologies, such as message boards, downloadable videos and an animated intro.

Suck quietly launches as an online zine that embraces the weird world of the tech scene. Each day, creators Joey Anuff and Carl Steadman replace the homepage with a new quippy article. The site is bought by Hotwired, then sold to Lycos, and eventually becomes a part of Automatic Media.

The Web After Suck

Netly News

Netly News gets its start as a part of Time Inc’s web offerings. It is launched by Josh Quittner, who uses the site to dive into issues of tech and the emerging web zine scene.

HTML 2.0

HTML 2.0 is published as IETF RFC 1866, and includes elements from previous iterations of HTML specifications, as well as some that are brand new. It was seen as the specification from which other implementations should emerge from, and still influences HTML today.

When Rotuma Came to the Web

Mozilla Open Sourced

In a surprising move, Netscape open sources their browser and suite of Internet tools. A new team, the Mozilla Organization, is formed inside of Netscape to manage the direction of the browser and surrounding community. This team would later become the Mozilla Foundation.


After watching Finding Forrester, Max Goldberg becomes obsessed with the line “You’re the man now, dog!”, and creates a site with just that quote and a soundbite from the film. Later, Goldberg shortens the title to YTMND and allows other users to host their own single serving websites with simple tools.

Mozilla Phoenix

Originally developed as an experimental branch of Netscape Navigator, Phoenix is released publicly to the open source community. Phoenix was a complete rewrite of the existing browser, and was faster, lighter and included the newest web standards.

Mozilla Foundation

Though the Mozilla Organization had been operating from within Netscape for a while, the Mozilla Foundation is officially spun off as an independent non-profit so it could continue to operate even without the help of Netscape.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla releases it’s new browser, Firefox, after working on its development for almost four years. An open source project, Firefox introduces the latest web standards, and includes the new Gecko layout engine.

The Many Faces (And Names) of Mozilla

Purple, Obama, and Single Serving Websites

Single Serving Sites

Jason Kottke gives a name to sites that have a single purpose, and a URL that speaks for itself. Kottke was inspired by and other similar efforts. He wrote an article gathering some other examples. From there, the phenomena of single serving sites only grew as more and more were added to the web.