1. Where do you get the webpages from?
PSPB currently pulls web pages from the Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine
2. Why do some of the pages render with missing graphics or missing theming or with an odd layout?
The Wayback Machine is often incomplete - especially with older pages. This can account for some of the missing images that you might see.
Not every browser implements (or implements correctly) every possible element of a web page. A browser from 1995 may have issues with a page from 1998 that contains css elements (css having first launched in 1996) yet millions of people may have still been browsing with that browser at the time. PSPB tries to reflect a real world browsing experience rather than one where every surfer has the latest equipment and every page has been updated to match the latest standards.
It’s also possible that I might have made a mistake in re-working the pages for display.
3. Are you really rendering these sites in these browsers?
All images are generated from real instances of the browsers running on real instances of the operating systems. The hardware, however, is fake and is provided by QEMU, VirtualBox, and Cockatrice III.
4. Does HotJava 1.0 on Windows really crash that much?
5. It’s a bit York-centric at times..?
This is actually somewhat deliberate. The early movements of various elements of civil society onto the internet are often glossed over when looking at images of the pre-web2.0 World Wide Web. It’s easy to find early images of Google’s homepage, it’s much harder to find similar images of local government websites.
For the purposes of PSPB, this will be reflected in sites based around York and North Yorkshire at the regional level and the UK at the national level.
6. Where did you get the site’s theme?
7. The URLS in the address bar look incorrect.
This is a known issue and there is a longer term plan to fix it.
8. How do you choose which operating systems and browsers to run?
For more common operating systems and browsers, I attempt to create instances that reflect major milestones in development. A major browser release (such as Internet Explorer 4.0) or a major iteration of an operating system (such as the release of Windows XP) would class as such a milestone. For less common operating systems or more obscure browsers I am often forced to use what I can get running or even what I can find on the internet.