Wed 24 Jun 2009
The browser war isn’t a real war with machine guns and artillery shells and breaking Geneva conventions, it’s more of a virtual turf war for the world’s web surfers. Let’s review the history of this nifty interweb of ours:
- 1989: CERN researcher Tim Berners-Lee launches the first web server*. You can see that web server (and I have) because it’s just sitting on a table in one of the CERN lobby buildings. You could even steal it if you wanted (I considered it), because there is very little security– those silly Swiss!
- Mosaic, the first graphical browser, came out a few years later, in 1993, followed by it’s cousin Netscape Navigator in 1994. Remember?
- Microsoft, with their market-busting, monopolistic fervor, introduced Internet Explorer (IE) in 1995 and began shipping it with all version of Windows. Because it came pre-installed, it quickly grew to near complete market domination.
- SEVEN YEARS passes with little change. Everyone had been using IE. Then, WHAMMO! Firefox (www.getfirefox.com). Firefox is available on Linux, Mac and PCs. It’s fast, has lots of awesome plugins and TABS!
- A year or so passes and Microsoft plays catch up and finally releases a tabbed version of IE. Other browsers appear (like Google Chrome.)
How goes the fierce, non-violent, nerdy war? As of May 2009, the browser market share looks like:
So, what’s the next step? Better tabs. So good ol’ Mozilla (makers of Firefox) are having a competition to redesign the tabbing experience.
My good buddy, Grady, a world-class graphic designer, has created a new paradigm for tabbing, he calls it favitabs, (http://www.favitabs.com). Today starts the voting for the people’s choice award, and anyone can vote: http://design-challenge.mozilla.com/summer09/showcase.php
The voting ends of July 5th, so if you want to be part of history, if you think Favitabs is an awesome idea, then click on over to the design challenge and vote.
* Sir Tim also came up with the crazy http:// prefix for web addresses. He is said to regret that decision.