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Recreating the First Web Browser at CERN
February 14, 2019

In a small room in CERN’s Data Center, an international group of nine developers is taking a plunge back in time to the beginnings of the World Wide Web.  Their aim is to enable the whole world  to experience what the web looked like viewed within the very first browser developed by Tim Berners-Lee.

It was at CERN that Berners-Lee envisioned the system of linking information that would become the World Wide Web.  But an interface was needed to read and write to it.  Working on a NeXT Cube running the now obsolete NeXTSTEP Operating System, Berners-Lee built the first browser, initially called “WorldWideWeb” and later renamed Nexus.

The original browser was a powerful tool that allowed for both browsing and editing. However, the system is little-known because it ran only on NeXT computers, which were produced in small numbers.

“Our hope is that over the next few days we are going to recreate the experience of what it would be like using that browser, but doing it in a way that anyone using a modern web browser can experience,” explains team member Jeremy Keith. The aim is to “give people the feeling of what it would have been like, in terms of how it looked, how it felt, the fonts, the rendering, the windows, how you navigated from link to link.”

The U.S. Mission is delighted participate in CERN’s Web@30 anniversary through sponsorship of this project which celebrates the spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation that gave birth to the web.

Learn more about the 30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web at: https://web30.web.cern.ch/