The web and its applications grow day on day and the humble ‘World Wide Web’ launched in 1991 by CERN is now touching on nearly every aspect of modern life. As we discuss students’ learning programming and web design as part of standard curriculum, it is important for them to understand the history of the web and how it has evolved over time. Just as we learn founding principles in science, students should understand where the web came from and how it is growing.
“The Evolution of The Web” Infographic posted by Google and created by Hyperakt and Vizzuality, is an interactive look at the history of the web. It provides an engaging way for students to see how technology integrates with each browser and how quickly the internet and its applications are moving everyday.
Built in HTML5 the graphic shows the evolution of each major browser and it’s support for new standards and web technologies.
“The web today is a growing universe of interlinked web pages and web apps, teeming with videos, photos, and interactive content. What the average user doesn’t see is the interplay of web technologies and browsers that makes all this possible.”
It is amazing the amount of information that can be gleaned from what, at a glance, looks like just a pretty picture.
History Of The Web
We can see the the date that each major browser was released and each subsequent milestone in the browsers version history. This is fascinating to see, and the visual aid highlights a number of interesting facts:
- The modern browser is over 17 years old
- Chrome was released 13 years after Opera was on the scene
- Netscape, Opera and Internet Explorer where all released in the same year
As well as seeing the dates that browsers have been introduced, we can see the approximate dates that web technologies became available for use. This in itself is interesting as we see nearly a four year drought from 2000 to 2004 with very little innovation in the browser space. The introduction of next generation browsers Safari and Firefox seem to spark this evolution, with Chrome’s release sparking even higher levels of browser innovation.
Clicking on each technology block gives a brief overview of what features it brings to the browser. It also highlights the stream showing when each browser added support. This is extremely useful to see what version of browser supports each web technology.
Browser UI Evolution
Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the Infographic is the ability to see the UI of each browser version released. By clicking on the browser icon, an overlay of the browser UI is displayed. What is particularly interesting about this is the transition from the early browser UI that is very basic, to feature-full/cluttered UI and then back to basic. A great example of this is comparing Opera V.1, V.6 and V.11.5:
The other important concept this Infographic highlights is the continued success of HTML5 in making an interactive web. There is not a speck of Flash on this page, yet nearly every image/text/button springs a beautiful, smooth interaction. The continued efforts of the Google Chrome team to push the limits of HTML are not only clear in the statistics of the Infographic but are also clear in the user experience of the graphic itself.
If you have not yet explored the history of the web with this amazing Infographic, visit http://evolutionofweb.appspot.com/
What are your thoughts, ideas, improvements? What would you add to this Infographic to make it more useful?