Amiga Web Browsers – part 1

Unless you are just using your Amiga to play retro games or to run something specialized like a video toaster, you’ll probably want to be able to surf the web. If there was one absolutely essential app for any computer these days, it’s a good web browser. The Amiga has many to choose from but only a few can handle modern day websites. Here’s a quick rundown of each browser I could find:

The Low End

Lynx: Lynx is a text-only web browser that’s been around for a very long time. It’s superfast, due to the fact that it doesn’t have to download anything but the html text. It doesn’t support Javascript or CSS and has no images. I doubt if tables or frames are even shown. No screenshot, you’d only see a console anyway. I could only find ALynx, the latest of which was dated from the year 2000 and another one just called lynx from 2007.

Amosaic: The first graphical browser of any popularity was Mosaic in the 90’s. I believe both Netscape and Internet Explorer were derived from this project. There was an Amiga port called AMosaic that was used widely in the mid to late 90’s before others came along. I believe it used Amiga datatypes to render images and play sounds.

Voyager: A company called Vaporware arose out of Europe to deliver what was, at the time, some really good internet-related, Amiga-specific software. Their old website is still there. The first version of Voyager was released free as a gift to the Amiga Community. Version 2 and 3 were registered to users for a small fee. This web browser had some simple javascript support. It also supported Amiga datatype rendering and had early support for frames. I used to use it with my Amiga 1200 in 32 color mode back around 1996. There is still a support ftp site that has updates until about mid-2002.

AWeb: AWeb was a great, fast and available early on. It was another late 90’s browser that had some support for javascript, tables, frames, etc. The developer eventually left the Amiga-scene but opened up the source code on his way out. The code was ported to PowerPC Amigas as well. It was also bundled with OS 3.9 making it one of the more widely used ones. While it can’t render modern pages very well, it isn’t bad either and is still a fast browser. It surprised with some of the pages it could render. Check out the AWEB official website.

IBrowse: IBrowse was, in my opinion, the king of Amiga classic web browsers. As with others, it supports a lot of the web standards in the late 90’s and maybe early 2000’s, it also support some javascript, uses datatype plugins, had great bookmark management and download management windows. It was and still is a great example of Amiga-style when it comes to software. It’s just a shame it never got the updates to keep it current with modern standards like CSS. The website shows that the last major release was version 2.4 in 2006. However, experimental flash player plug-in support continued to be released as late as 2011, so there is still some life (albeit minor) in this great web browser. It was commercial software and, at the time, worth every penny.

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