New X-based information systems browser available.

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Marc Andreessen

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Feb 16, 1993, 7:18:30 AM2/16/93
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NCSA is developing a new X/Motif-based networked information systems
browser called X Mosaic. Comfortably stable beta versions of it are
now available, including full source code and binaries (for SunOS 4.x,
SGI IRIX 4.x, AIX 3.2, and DEC Ultrix), at ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in
/Web/xmosaic.

X Mosaic provides a consistent and easy-to-use hypertext-based
interface into a wide variety of information sources, including
Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo, Texinfo,
FTP, local filesystems, telnet, tn3270, and others. A canonical list
of current features follows:

o Friendly Motif user interface.
o Color and monochrome default X resource settings.
o Multiple independent toplevel windows.
o History list per window (both 'where you've been' and 'where you can
go').
o Global history with previously visited locations visually distinct; global
history is persistent across sessions.
o Hotlist/bookmark capability -- keep list of interesting documents,
add/remove items, list is persistent across sessions.
o Personal annotations with GUI annotation entry dialog; annotations can
later be edited or deleted, and hyperlinks to existing annotations are
inlined into subsequent accesses of an annotated document.
o Options for new window per document (aka TurboGopher interface) --
always, or via middle mouse button.
o On-the-fly font and hyperlink style selection.
o Many common document and data source choices accessible via menubar.
o Keyword search capability.
o Cut and paste formatted text into other X windows.
o Smart handling of documents too big for single X window -- virtual
document pages via inlined hypertext.
o Save/mail/print documents in several formats.
o Online hypertext help.
o No config or resource file installation required; self-contained
executable.
o Extremely customizable.
o Integration with NCSA Collage and NCSA DTM to broadcast documents
into real-time networked workgroup collaboration sessions.

We are continuing to develop X Mosaic, with the end goal of making it
a useful tool for networked asynchronous collaboration specifically,
and global hypermedia and information system resource discovery and
retrieval in general.

Comments and suggestions on X Mosaic's capabilities and interface
would be very much appreciated. We are releasing new versions about
every 7-14 days, so your feedback has an excellent chance of directly
influencing near-term development. (Support for handling GIF, JPEG,
MPEG, audio, DVI, and PostScript will be in the next version, so don't
suggest that. :-)

Cheers,
Marc

--
Marc Andreessen
Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
ma...@ncsa.uiuc.edu

Marc Andreessen

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Feb 19, 1993, 10:28:46 AM2/19/93
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In article <1m2v0i$7...@venus.haverford.edu> Jon Schull
<J_Sc...@Haverford.EDU> writes:

>NCSA is developing a new X/Motif-based networked information

>systems browser called X Mosaic. [...]

I very much like the sound of that. What are the prospects for a
version or equivalent which will run on Macs or PCs?

We're concurrently developing a Mac version (in cooperation with
CERN); whether we do a PC version will depend both on how much
interest exists and whether we can find support for its development.

Simon Spero

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Feb 19, 1993, 5:41:46 PM2/19/93
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In article <MARCA.93F...@wintermute.ncsa.uiuc.edu> ma...@ncsa.uiuc.edu (Marc Andreessen) writes:
>
>We're concurrently developing a Mac version (in cooperation with
>CERN); whether we do a PC version will depend both on how much
>interest exists and whether we can find support for its development.

From looking through the source code, it seems that xmosaic is pretty much
based on URLs and HTML; was this scan through correct? Looked a pretty
good example of what URLs can do.

The README/posting did confuse me a little, as I took it to imply that xmosaic
supported all the protocols itself, and couldn't work out how you got the source
code that small :-)

Simon
--
Hackers Local 42- National Union of Computer Operatives, Chapel Hill section
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Marc Andreessen

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Feb 19, 1993, 5:57:49 PM2/19/93
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In article <1993Feb19.2...@samba.oit.unc.edu>
s...@sunSITE.unc.edu (Simon Spero) writes:

>We're concurrently developing a Mac version (in cooperation with
>CERN); whether we do a PC version will depend both on how much
>interest exists and whether we can find support for its
>development.

From looking through the source code, it seems that xmosaic is
pretty much based on URLs and HTML; was this scan through correct?
Looked a pretty good example of what URLs can do.

The README/posting did confuse me a little, as I took it to imply
that xmosaic supported all the protocols itself, and couldn't work
out how you got the source code that small :-)

Well, all that 'based on URLs mean' is that we address WAIS, Gopher,
World Wide Web, NNTP, FTP, etc. servers on an equal footing.

Due largely to the efforts of the fine people at CERN, Mosaic speaks
the Gopher, NNTP, FTP, and HTTP (World Wide Web server) protocols
directly. We unfortunately go through a gateway to get to WAIS, but
we hope to talk WAIS directly in the near future. Other, less common
information systems (Hytelnet, Techinfo, etc.) will probably always be
accessed through gateways, as this only make sense.

The 'based on HTML' part is a definite misnomer -- we handle plaintext
as well as anyone :-). It would be possible to use X Mosaic for
months and never actually view a HTML document (if all you used it for
was to scan FTP sites, read NNTP news, access Gopher and WAIS sites,
and so on). X Mosaic uses HTML internally to support its generalized
hypertext-centered interface to all these services (e.g., Usenet news
is pretty-formatted into HTML as it's retrieved, without user
intervention). Mosaic also (naturally) supports viewing native HTML
documents (which can just as easily come from Gopher and WAIS servers
as from anywhere else -- Ohio State has a server up that nicely
demonstrates this flexibility in action).

Hope that helps explain things,

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