Who made this site and when?
This site was actually made in 2017 by Michiel Sikma. It's designed to mimic 1996 era HTML as closely as possible.
Ruby was created by Takeshi as a free Microsoft Comic Chat character.
See his website for more information: http://www2.gol.com/users/raindogs/takeshi/chat/
Why does this exist?
It started out as a way to quickly display search results on retro computers running old browsers that don't support today's web. These browsers often display broken pages and slow to a crawl trying to process and render everything.
After the basic work was done, some more stuff was added just for the heck of it. It's not a bad homepage for an old hobby computer running Windows 95 or System 7.
How does this site work?
It's built in PHP and actually takes content from DuckDuckGo. When you run a search, we run the search on their system and return the results back to you.
What were some inspirations for this site?
We did some research into old search engines while making this. Most websites were very simple back then, and not many people knew how to make the most of HTML. Search engines had some of most sophisticated websites back then, since they were all vying to become the default page.
Here are some images of what they looked back then:
|Altavista on Macintosh System 7, around 1996|
|Altavista on Windows 95, around 1998|
|Hotbot design overview from a magazine|
|Lycos site directory in Netscape (SeaMonkey)|
|Yahoo homepage in Windows 3.11, 1996|
Read this article from 1996 by Anne Callery from Yahoo! to learn more the concerns and motivations of the time.
How close is this to a real 1996 era search engine?
Pretty close. There's no CSS whatsoever so we use 90s era tricks to get things to display correctly (tables everywhere, spacer images). Even so, there are some anachronisms:
|Search engines weren't even close to being as good as DuckDuckGo is today.|
|The website is sent as UTF-8, which has technically already existed since 1993 but wouldn't be a common encoding until the early to mid 2000s.|
|It was uncommon (but not unheard of) for websites to use tables as extensively as we do for layout in 1996. Table layouts don't display well when they're slowly coming in over a modem connection, so they were used sparingly.|
|We may add a captcha to the submission pages, even though they didn't exist yet until Altavista implemented them in 1997. And even then they were very uncommon until the mid 2000s.|
|A minor one, but still: the pages are sent gzipped, and browser support for that didn't start until around 1999.|
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Ruby is © by Takeshi