WorldWideWeb Icon


Berners-Lee for CERN

Initial release

December 23, 1990


January 14, 1994; at version 0.18

Programming language


Operating system


Official website


WorldWideWeb later renamed to Nexus to avoid confusion about the software and the World Wide Web, was the first web browser. When it was written, WorldWideWeb was the only way to view the Web. The source code was released into the public domain in 1993, a year before being discontinued.

History Edit

Berners-Lee programed WorldWideWeb on a NeXT Computer during the second half of 1990, while working for CERN. The first successful build was completed on December 25, 1990, and successive builds followed, circulated among Berners-Lee's colleagues at CERN before being released to the public, by way of Internet newsgroups, in August 1991.

On April 30, 1993, the CERN directorate released the source code of WorldWideWeb into the public domain, making it free software. Several versions of the software are still available to download from's browser archive. Berners-Lee initially considered releasing it under the GNU General Public License, but eventually opted for public domain to maximize corporate support. Some of WorldWideWeb's source code still resides on Tim Berners-Lee's NeXTcube in the CERN museum and has not been recovered due to the computer's status as a historical artifact.

Technical Information Edit

WorldWideWeb screenshot

The WorldWideWeb browser

Since WorldWideWeb was developed on and for the NeXTSTEP platform, the program used many of NeXTSTEP's components – WorldWideWeb's layout engine was built around NeXTSTEP's Text class.

Features Edit

WorldWideWeb was capable of displaying basic style sheets, browsing newsgroups, spellchecking, and downloading and opening any file type supported by the NeXT system. This included PostScript, movies, and sounds. At first, images were displayed in separate windows, until NeXTSTEP's Text class supported Image objects. The browser also had editing capabilities which allowed the simultaneous editing and linking of many pages in different windows. Editing pages remotely was not yet possible, as the HTTP PUT method had not yet been implemented. Files would be edited in a local file system which was in turn served onto the Web by an HTTP server. WorldWideWeb was able to use different protocols: FTP, HTTP, NNTP, and local files.

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