Erwise was a pioneering web browser, and the first commonly available with a graphical user interface.
Released in April 1992, the browser was written for Unix computers running X and used the W3 common access library. Erwise was the combined master's project of four Finnish students at the Helsinki University of Technology: Kim Nyberg, Teemu Rantanen, Kati Suominen and Kari Sydänmaanlakka. The group decided to create a web browser at the suggestion of Robert Cailliau, who was visiting the university, and were supervised by Ari Lemmke.
The development of Erwise halted after the students graduated and went on to other projects. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, travelled to Finland to encourage the group to continue with the project. However, none of the project members could afford to continue with the project without proper funding.
The name Erwise originates from otherwise and the name of the project group, OHT.
The following are significant characteristics of the browser:
- It used a multifont text.
- The links of Erwise browser were underlined. To visit the links you had to double click on the links.
- Erwise could execute multiple window operation, though the optional single window mode was also available.
- Erwise could open local files.
- Erwise had little English documentation.
- Some of the buttons were for features that were not implemented.
- Tim Berners-Lee would have continued with the works of Erwise. He could not do so because Erwise was documented in the Finnish language.
Erwise crashed on some Unices, which Berners-Lee attributed to poor Motif implementations.
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