Let’s return to 1992, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee was hard at work developing the Internet at CERN. After creating the first web browser, “worldwideweb,” which only worked on the NeXT operating system, Berners-Lee opened up the web to other platforms through the “line mode browser.”
CERN has now created a simulation of the line mode browser to run in modern browsers. Here’s a quick guide in case you’re having trouble figuring it out, and there’s also a bookmarklet that will render any page in the simulator—which is really neat, when you think about just how far web design has come in 20 years. According to Ars Technica, “although you won’t see any images, modern websites are still readable in the line-mode browser.
“That’s because HTML is backwards-compatible by design,” CERN wrote. “The vocabulary has grown in scope since Tim Berners-Lee first introduced just a handful of tags, but new browsers still understand all the old tags, and the line-mode browser simply ignores any tags it doesn’t recognize.”