Quick Links (with less pre-reading than scrolling through this whole page):

About this page

These are pages about supporting some basic web browsers. The web browsers might be basic in the sense of not support advanced scripting (like JavaScript) and lacking ease of alphanumeric input, like WebTV and browsers for the Sega Dreamcast that frequently weren't using keyboards. The browsers might be even more basic, supplying user experiences with limited or even no graphics due to using more limited bandwidth (known to be used at times by choice simply so pages can be transmitted/read/displayed more quickly) or device limitations such as a low amount of RAM memory and/or a small display screen.

Often the systems using such browsers may not have a good ability to support more advanced browsers, or perhaps basic browsers were simply released at a time when more advanced browsers were not available on such devices. They may also be designed to work around limitations such as space limitations on controllers that were designed to be small, and therefore not having a full-sized keyboard. Even if more advanced browsers could be or even have been released for the device, the devices may have some sort of limitations, such as read-only memory that cannot be (easily) written to, which makes it impractical to upgrade to a more full-featured browser. For these reasons, limited browsers have often been used when a more full-fledged browser is not as conveniently available for use.

Many basic browsers may share some common traits. For example, on-screen keyboards, which display keyboards with multiple keys that can somehow be selected by multiple button presses on a device with fewer buttons, have been used on multiple systems that don't have available keyboards. MIDI files (music files typically stored with the ".mid" filename extention), compared to other music file formats, use fewer bytes to store data and often take less processing power for them to be played, have been supported by many devices, including mobile phones that have often supported using them for ring tones.

Browsers for personal computers

Such browsing experiences can often be experienced on a personal computer by disabling options such as support for scripting languages, graphics, and/or cookies. Even still, advanced browsers may support elements like <FRAME>, <TABLE>, or >LAYER> tags that aren't supported by some more limited browsers, and so separate web browsers for computers can be used to check what sites would look like on more limited browsers. An early web browser is Lynx. (The older Lynx home page links to the newer one and references Lynx 2.8.5, whereas the page I'm considering the newer one refers to Lynx 2.8.6 as being stable.) w3m supports text mode and also supports showing inline graphics. Links is claimed (by a page of OpenBSD ports) to support text mode, graphics, and JavaScript.

Mobile Devices

I have some resources available for some mobile phones that I've owned and therefore found some specific resources about. The page isn't yet public. If interested, ask me about Nokia Series 60 phones, or the T-Mobile Dash.

Wikipedia's Openwave page has said "Their mobile browser software has shipped on over one billion handsets, approx 49% of the global browser-capable device shipments, over 70 mobile operators." Their software can be rather uncooperative with attempts of handling unsupported file formats, such as running executables or saving files of an unfamiliar format. Their support for WML have led many to believe many mobile phones only support WAP pages, although I do believe WAP is more accurately viewed as a protocol (like http) rather than a file format (like HTML).

TV-based systems

Wishing to use officially supported Web Browsers for the Sega Dreamcast video game system, I learned about JellyScript which is subset of JavaScript supported by Dreamcast browsers and also WebTV (later called MSNTV). The abilities of Jellyscript may be tested on a standard computer by using the free WebTV/MSNTV emulators. Information may be available on a web page linked to earlier in this paragraph, on a system with some support for MIME types and CGI. That page is likely to mvoe to this site later. For Dreamcast users, see also XDP browser. (I haven't tested that yet.)

Some information about the "Bush Internet" "IBX" Set Top Boxes (STB) units make it sound like they are similar to WebTV. According to an archived copy of Richard James's "Bush Internet" site, they had dropped in price from the initial 300 GBP to 15 and even free with separate purchase. Vincent Sander's STB page references Toys R Us selling them for 20 GBP and offering a 10GBP rebate. It seems they were highly hackable compared to a WebTV, with the units able to support MP3 playing, programming in the BASIC language, and Parallel Port (Adapter) Zip drives that could be used to have these devices run Linux. As they appear to have been released in Europe (from the prices it would seem they were released in Great Britain), it is doubtful I will be obtaining one and getting further information on these units, so for further information the web hyperlinks in this text can be used.

Some devices also support web browsers, even if not officially. Microsoft's Xbox has had some unofficial software written for it, and such software can be used without opening up the system. Other systems, such as the GameCube and I believe the Playstation 3 so far, have had Linux run on them, and there are multiple browsers designed for Linux. More details may appear on this site at a later time. Contact me if there is further interest.