Cello from Cornell ...a good web browser for free

WinWeb from EInet ...another HTML reader

Cello: a well strung instrument

Hands up all who thought the NCSAís Mosaic was the only way to surf the World Wide Web of the Internet: that great interwoven collection of computing resources that are reached through the medium of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) to deliver multimedia experiences that can include sound, high resolution graphics and even MPEG video?

OK, well, you are forgiven. The hype that has driven the Internet has generally been accompanied by the christening of Mosaic as "the Internetís Killer Application".

Whilst Mosaic has certainly been the most visible of the means of browsing the Internet, this has possibly been due to the fact that it is available on Unix and Mac in addition to PC. And, donít forget, available under DESQview/X to run in the X window.

Mosaicís pre-eminence as a web browser has lead to an almost complete log jam at the home site of the software at the University of Illinois. Most attempts to get and download seem to fail with the Mosaic FTP server turfing me out, and now that the development has moved to commercial entities with companies such as Mosaic Communications Inc., and Spry Inc., already offering variations on the theme, Mosaic is likely to become an interestingly diverse "standard".

Added to which it is not clear how the new developments are going to maintain the ethos of keeping the same Mosaic available across a number of -Window platforms in addition to MS Windows and Macintosh.

Cello: Better than Mosaic in many ways at http://www.law.cornell.edu/cello/cellotop.html

The world of Cello is currently a very different thing to the unseemly commercial scramble that characterises Mosaic. Those who frequent the Cello list server (an email system for developing a user group) have developed an evangelistic note about their "discovery", which is written and developed by Thomas Bruce, with funding from the Cornell law school.

While the whizz-kids of Mosaic are being fÍted and swept out of the University and into start up ventures with the likes of the founder of Silicon Graphics., Thomas Bruce remains a stalwartly one-one band (with some assistance).

Cello has several pluses over Mosaic from my point of view: number one is the ease with which the source (or stripped) text can be viewed and saved (insert your choice of editor in the INI file). This is very useful for those of us trying to develop our own pages, and wanting to see how others do it by probing their HTML source.

The second plus is that Cello seems a good deal faster in many circumstances, although for most dial-up users, speed is limited at the network connection level of the modem.

A third plus is an excellent help system, and an ability to print, which for reasons that have long escaped me, are not present in the Mosaic implementation.

But both Mosaic and Cello are very much first generation ideas in their look and feel. The next generation of Cello (due RSN) uses floating windows and toolboxes to great effect, and is a much sleeker solution, benefiting from not having to carry the baggage of cross platform support.

Being non-commercial projects, Mosaic and Cello have been under no particular pressure to deliver. The users are told to anticipate the occasional crash (and get it!), and there is a general air of eager enthusiasm.

The Mosaic/Cello question is not a Betamax/VHS business. Far from it: the specification of HTML is an open standard maintained at the spiritual HQ of the Internet World Wide Web based at the CERN research facility. Any number of commercial browsers will be developed to digest and display HTML.

There is no reason why supersets of the HTML idea cannot be developed for use by specific Web service providers for the purposes of secure transactions: transaction processing is amongst the first aims of the next generations of web browsers to simplify ordering and cash transfer. Although she may not be able to set up the INI files, once installed, your granny should be quite capable of net surfing with both these tools.

This is Cello version 2 in the making: probably the version available when you read this...

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