Can you guess which web browser boasts the following features?
Personal annotations with GUI annotation entry dialog; annotations can later be edited or deleted, and hyperlinks to existing annotations are inlined into subsequent accesses of an annotated document. (Note: any document from any server via any access method can be annotated.)
Audio (voice) annotations with GUI for controlling recording process.
Annotating web pages is a useful feature. I personally don’t feel much need for audio annotations, but you may if you’re a doctor or a dyslectic. Or if you’re browsing on a device without a proper keyboard, like mobile phone or tablet PC (which seem to be on their way to a comeback).
- Support for accessing documents and data through Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, FTP, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo, TeXinfo, Telnet, tn3270, Archie, NCSA DMF, local files, and other sources.
That’s an impressive list of protocols, but I miss XMPP.
- No config or resource file installation required; self-contained executable.
Good for running from a USB stick!
- Transparent and automatic uncompression of compressed (.Z) and gzip’d (.z) files.
Nice feature, although zip support would be useful too.
- Inlined images in formatted (HTML) text: X bitmaps and GIF images can be included anywhere inside a document, and can act as hyperlink anchors. Image files themselves can be located anywhere on the network.
What!? Is the
img tag a feature worthy of being on a feature list?
Yes, it is. Or at least it was when this browser was released.
Support for the
img tag was new back then.
I recommend this post by Mark Pilgrim
about the history of the
img tag. The answer to the question is:
These are the relase notes for the beta version of Mosaic 0.10. Released in 1993.
There are a few features on the list that modern browsers don’t support. Document annotations are one. Here’s another:
- Integrated with NCSA Collage and NCSA DTM to broadcast documents into real-time networked workgroup collaboration sessions.
I’m not sure exactly what this is, but collaborative document editing was a feature that the web was designed for from the start. That’s why the HTTP protocol includes a PUT verb. Unfortunately collaborative editing didn’t take off until the Wiki was invented.
Below are some of my favourites that new browser’s wouldn’t boast about in their feature lists.
- Fully 8-bit clean for formatted and plain text.
Today you can’t trust all applications to support Unicode. Back in the days, you couldn’t even trust them to support 8-bit character sets. (And there still is software that doesn’t!)
Friendly X/Motif user interface.
Color and monochrome default X resource settings.
Ah, support for monochrome displays! Good for the Kindle!
Multiple independent toplevel windows.
Hotlist/bookmark capability – keep list of interesting documents, add/remove items, list is persistent across sessions.
In-document search capability.
Windows! Bookmarks! “Find” command! Not that impressive by today’s standards.
The original Usenet post is available on Google Groups, but since Google don’t seem to care much for the Usenet archive, I’m posting a copy below. Have fun and be amazed both at how much has happened since back then, and how much hasn’t happened.
Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.gopher,comp.infosystems.wais,comp.infosystems,alt.hypertext,comp.windows.x Path: sparky!uunet!wupost!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!linac!uchinews!ux1.cso.uiuc.edu!news.cso.uiuc.edu!188.8.131.52!marca From: ma...@ncsa.uiuc.edu (Marc Andreessen) Subject: NCSA Mosaic for X 0.10 available. Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 03:56:00 GMT Message-ID: <MARCA.93Mar14225600@wintermute.ncsa.uiuc.edu> Sender: use...@news.cso.uiuc.edu (Net Noise owner) X-Md4-Signature: b3b784c3820df435ac2ef2cc3f6f802f Organization: Nat'l Center for Supercomputing Applications Lines: 154 Beta version 0.10 of Mosaic, NCSA's X/Motif-based networked information systems browser, including full source code and binaries (for SunOS 4.x, SGI IRIX 4.x, AIX 3.2, and DEC Ultrix), is now at ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in /Web/xmosaic: file://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Web/xmosaic/xmosaic-0.10.tar.Z .../xmosaic/binaries-0.10/xmosaic-sun.Z .../xmosaic/binaries-0.10/xmosaic-sgi.Z .../xmosaic/binaries-0.10/xmosaic-ibm.Z .../xmosaic/binaries-0.10/xmosaic-dec.Z NCSA Mosaic provides a consistent and easy-to-use hypermedia-based interface into a wide variety of information sources, including Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo, TeXinfo, FTP, local filesystems, Archie, telnet, tn3270, and others. A list of changes made since version 0.9 follows this canonical features list: o Support for accessing documents and data through Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, FTP, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo, TeXinfo, Telnet, tn3270, Archie, NCSA DMF, local files, and other sources. o Friendly X/Motif user interface. o Color and monochrome default X resource settings. o Multiple independent toplevel windows. o History list per window (both 'where you've been' and 'where you can go'). o Global history with previously visited locations visually distinct; global history is persistent across sessions. o Hotlist/bookmark capability -- keep list of interesting documents, add/remove items, list is persistent across sessions. o Personal annotations with GUI annotation entry dialog; annotations can later be edited or deleted, and hyperlinks to existing annotations are inlined into subsequent accesses of an annotated document. (Note: any document from any server via any access method can be annotated.) o Audio (voice) annotations with GUI for controlling recording process (SGI and Sun only). o Support for recognizing and handling GIF, JPEG, TIFF, audio, AIFF, DVI, MPEG, MIME, XWD, RGB, PostScript documents and forking off appropriate viewers. o Transparent and automatic uncompression of compressed (.Z) and gzip'd (.z) files. o Inlined images in formatted (HTML) text: X bitmaps and GIF images can be included anywhere inside a document, and can act as hyperlink anchors. Image files themselves can be located anywhere on the network. o Binary transfer mode, for pulling down arbitrary binary files and saving them to local disk without viewing them. o In-document search capability. o Fully 8-bit clean for formatted and plain text. o Options for new window per document (aka TurboGopher interface) -- always, or via middle mouse button. o On-the-fly font and hyperlink style selection. o Many common document and data source choices accessible via menubar. o Keyword search capability (for WAIS, Gopher, Archie, etc.). o Cut and paste formatted text into other X windows. o Smart handling of documents too big for single X window -- virtual document pages via inlined hypertext. o Save/mail/print documents in several formats. o Online hypertext help and FAQ list. o No config or resource file installation required; self-contained executable. o Extremely customizable. o Integrated with NCSA Collage and NCSA DTM to broadcast documents into real-time networked workgroup collaboration sessions. A list of changes made from version 0.9 to version 0.10 follows: o Support for <IMG> tag: inlined images in HTML documents. o Handles X bitmap and GIF formats so far. o New resource, colorsPerInlinedImage, can be used to restrict color use of inlined images -- default is 50. o Image files can be located anywhere on the net (pointed to by URL); image data is cached in memory for fast display and reuse. o Example of inlined bitmap: <IMG SRC="file://foobar.com/foobar.xbm"> o Example of inlined image serving as anchor: <A HREF="http://foobar.com/ref.html"> <IMG SRC="file://foobar.com/blagh.gif"> </A> o Better support for acting as binary file retrieval client. o Each window can either be in binary transfer mode or not; resource binaryTransferMode controls startup value (default is 'False', and you probably don't want to change this). A toggle button in the Options menu allows changing on the fly. o If a window is not in binary trasfer mode, data files with unrecognized types will be displayed in the window as either plain text or HTML (depending on the server type), as before. o If a window is in binary transfer mode, data files with unrecognized types will be dumped to a local file after being transferred over as binary data. o Regardless of whether a window is in binary transfer mode or not, files with recognizes types (images, sound, etc.) will be handled as usual, and uncompression will be transparent as usual. o The whole point of all this is to allow the user to select on the fly how a given file of an unrecognized type is to be handled. o Because files are currently typed by filename extension, binary transfer mode should generally be kept off, otherwise it will screw up things like WAIS searches pretty badly. Also, since Gopher does things differently from everyone else, things are different there too. o Setting one of the multimedia resources to the text string "dump" will cause files of that type to be dumped to local disk as though in binary transfer mode. o See http://hoohoo.ncsa.uiuc.edu:80/mosaic-docs/file-typing-issues.html for a more thorough discussion of these issues. o Audio annotations for Sun's with /usr/demo/SOUND/record (or something similar) are now enabled. Resources recordCommandLocation and recordCommand are used to specify the command used to record sound; theoretically, this approach can be used on any platform with appropriate hardware and software, although SGI Indigo & Sun Sparcstation are the only two that I know of. o Search capability within documents: enter search term, scrollbar jumps to match and match is highlighted; repeat as desired. o Enhanced support for various Gopher types, including binary files and CSO phonebooks (sorry, phonebooks aren't supported yet, but at least now an error message shows up). o Spaces converted to +'s in keyword queries now. o Scrollbar arrows now increment a reasonable amount when viewing large documents. o Anonymous FTP password is now always u...@host.domain, enabling access to every strange FTP server out there that I know of. o Pattern-matching to determine file type based on file name now uses caseless string compare. o Better default visited anchor color for non-SGI color displays. o Messages from libwww now show up in pop-up dialogs like they should. o Telnet never gets asked to use unrecognized -l flag. o Tar files are now always retrieved to local disk (and not displayed). o Replacement (and better) Archie interface. o Mail Developers window is cleared on each use. o New resource trackVisitedAnchors; can be used to turn off tracking of visited anchors altogether. o Better transparent uncompression support: o Gzipped (.z) files are now recognized and uncompressed on the fly (as well as .Z files, as before). o New resources uncompressCommand (default 'uncompress') and gunzipCommand (default 'gunzip'). o As usual, little bugfixes and cleanups. Finally, thanks *again* to everyone who's been contributing comments and bug reports -- keep 'em coming! Cheers, Marc -- Marc Andreessen Software Development Group National Center for Supercomputing Applications ma...@ncsa.uiuc.edu