Ars Technica has up a history article on the early web browsers, a rare glimpse into the largely-forgotten software that beat NCSA Mosaic to the punch but didn’t quite make it into pop culture consciousness (seen above is ViolaWWW, notable for early stabs at browsing history, bookmarks, styles, and even embedded scripting — probably also the first web browser I remember using on my Slackware copy of X Windows circa 1994! </old>).
For all of the developments in web technology since 1991, it’s remarkable to see how many UI features and browsing concepts emerged almost immediately and are still with us today.
Steam is gathering behind the open font / redistributable typeface movement, which will hopefully usher in some better typography options on the web. Arguments abound as to whether letting designers use whatever font they want on the web is a good thing, and the situation’s been moving at a snails pace for years due to the reluctance of both the font foundries and the browser makers, so it’s good to see actual, workable options on the horizon. Here are a handful of recent projects, all of which seek to ameliorate the licensing issues inherent in the use of embedded fonts:
“When Alexander the Great came to see Diogenes in his barrel, he was so impressed by the philosopher that he offered him money. Diogenes scornfully pointed out that he had no need of money, to which Alexander replied, ‘Have you no friends?’ I’ve always thought that Alexander had the better of this encounter. His awareness that even when your own needs have been met you can work for the betterment of others has helped me to understand that being a successful businessman can be a powerful way to contribute to society. In building a business, it’s important to remember that you aren’t just acquiring wealth for yourself, but creating value for your employees, your customers, and others whom you may never even meet. This is the principle behind one of the mottos we use at O’Reilly: ‘Create more value than you capture.’”
Good advice, and ties in nicely with today’s announcement of the United We Serve initiative.