Long before modern Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) that are the hallmark of Windows and Mac Operating Systems (OS) were developed, almost all computing was essentially text based. From simple applications required in office environments to the less routine text based computer video game, nothing had or required images. The same of course would naturally follow when it comes to browsing the web or two machines communicating in general, they didn’t have the bells and whistles of modern browsers.
The earliest web browsers, such as Lynx, were sometimes text-based. And when they weren’t, they still lacked the functionality that we take for granted in our web browsers today. Further, the ones that weren’t text-based ironically lasted longer on the public market than Lynx did which is even used by niche users today and by individuals that intend to test the functionality of their websites with older web browsers.
Text-based browsing was not the most fashionable thing to do, as even early on, browsers were often able to display images. Browsers like Lynx had their edge over more high tech browsers however. For one thing, loading an image isn’t exactly fast. In fact, on an older dial up network, some of the images available today wouldn’t even load at all considering their size, before the connection timed out and you get stuck with a quarter of somebody’s head on the screen. Further, no Lynx was unable to open the images in the browser itself; it did allow the end user the functionality of taking care of such operations externally through the applicable software applications on the local machine. This meant a fast web browsing experience that could be customized to deal with images on an as-needed basis, which explains why unlike many other more advanced browsers of that time; Lynx is still known by name to many a geek.