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Writers' Talk With Guest Wil Shipley

by Derrick Story
05/11/2001

Most of us who work on the Mac DevCenter believe that Mac OS X is going to spur a whole new generation of Mac applications. In my opinion, one of those breakthrough apps is available right now: OmniWeb 4.0.

Among other things, this native Mac OS X browser uses Quartz's built-in text anti-aliasing, and the pages it renders look terrific. We thought that the OmniGroup president, Wil Shipley, who designed and coded the UIs and front-ends for OmniWeb, would be a terrific guest on Writers' Talk. Wil agreed to join Aqua columnist Alan Graham and me for a chat about his OmniWeb browser, the IE 5.1 competition, and the evolution of NEXTSTEP that has led to the birth of Mac OS X.

We met online, Tuesday evening, May 8, 2001. Here's what we discussed.

OReillyMac: Welcome to Writers' Talk, guys!

wilshipleyatomni: Thanks!

alanosx: Thanks. Glad to be here.

OReillyMac: Wil, I'm really anxious to hear just a few words about the creation of OmniWeb. I think it's a terrific Mac OS X browser.

alanosx: Agreed!

OReillyMac: Could you give us a thumbnail history?

wilshipleyatomni: Glad you like it! We started OmniWeb back in 1993, under NEXTSTEP.

Screen shot of the chat -- click for larger view.
Screen shot of the chat -- click for larger view.

Comment on this articleHave you tried the OmniWeb 4.0 browser on OS X? We think it performs better than the alternative from Microsoft. What do you think?
Comment on this article.

Also in Writers' Talk:

A Chat on the Wonders of iTools

A Chat with "The Joy of Tech" Creators

Writers' Talk With Corey Marion of the Iconfactory

Talking About Life With Mac OS X

wilshipleyatomni: Not everybody knows it, but the World-wide-web was actually invented on NEXTSTEP machines at CERN (The Centre Européen de Recherche Nucléaire)

wilshipleyatomni: Which was a weird coincidence, because CERN was using NEXTSTEP machines because of a program I helped write (a tiny bit of) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator...

wilshipleyatomni: It helped physicists figure out what happened when high energy particles collided. Kind of a specialized program. So SLAC gave the program to CERN, and CERN started using NeXT machines.

OReillyMac: That's really cool. I had no idea ... That sort of leads to my next question ...

wilshipleyatomni: Yes?

OReillyMac: When I first used OmniWeb, I thought it was very refined for a "new" browser. That's because it isn't new, right? Of course if I paid attention to the version number, I could figure that out ...

wilshipleyatomni: Right, it's 8 years old.

OReillyMac: When did you decide to port a version to OS X?

wilshipleyatomni: We started it before Netscape spun off from the NCSA.

OReillyMac: NCSA?

wilshipleyatomni: We started it LONG before Microsoft bought Spyglass Mosaic and turned it into IE 1.0.

wilshipleyatomni: National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

wilshipleyatomni: It's been a long time, but if I'm recalling correctly then, Marc Andreesan came from NCSA.

OReillyMac: That certainly explains some of the refinement ...

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