Internet Guide Logo

Pei-Yuan Wei

Last Edit: 26/07/17

The World Wide Web was developed at CERN in the early 1990's, and the project was named the: CERN WWW Project. The CERN WWW Project had over fifteen members working within it, and one of those members was Pei-Yuan Wei; sometimes referred to as Pei Wei. Tim Berners-Lee was the leader of the CERN WWW Project and the inventor of the World Wide Web. Just as with other members of the CERN WWW Project, Pei-Yuan Wei was a student; he was studying experimental computing at UC Berkeley.

Pei-Yuan Wei Pei-Yuan Wei, published at his home page viola.org

One of the purposes of the CERN WWW Project was to develop applications that would expand accessibility to the World Wide Web. The most obvious web application is the web browser: which is a client program that requests and retrieves documents stored on web servers. The first web browser was designed by Tim Berners-Lee, but it was limited by the amount of platforms it was compatible with.

The second browser developed was the Line Mode Browser, and it expanded the amount of platforms that could access the web. The Line Mode Browser was released in 1991. In 1992, Pei-Yuan Wei developed the ViolaWWW browser, and it was probably the third browser created for the World Wide Web. ViolaWWW was designed to be compatible with Unix, and specifically the X Windowing System. In the early 1990's, the most popular operating system that was used to connect to the Internet was Unix; Windows would only begin to be used to connect to the Internet in the mid 1990's.

The word 'Viola' stands for 'Visually Interactive Object-oriented Language and Application'. Pei-Yuan Wei had created a HyperCard software system in 1989, and borrowed heavily from his previous HyperCard work when designing ViolaWWW. ViolaWWW pioneered the use of: embedded script objects; stylesheets; and the use of tables. ViolaWWW was the most popular browser in 1992, but it was surpassed by Mosaic in 1993.