Web Browser

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The most important program in your computer is the web browser, and yet most people are not sure which web browser they are using, or even what exactly a web browser is.  A web browser is not in itself all that different from Windows or Mac, which are systems that allow you to manage files and programs.  It is, however, different from a search engine, which is a website used to search the internet.  A web browser is a program on your computer that allows you to visit web sites.  You get to your web browser by clicking on its icon.  From there, you enter the web address, and the browser displays the webpages in question for you.  The web browser is the most important piece of software in your computer, because every web page runs through it.  So a faster web browser means that you will find yourself saving time on every web page you open. Installing a new browser is usually free, and rarely takes more than a few minutes.  Even so, it’s worth taking a moment to choose a web browser that you really like, given that you’ll spend so much time using it.

A browser is a program installed on your computer to help you traverse the internet. Most of us have a word processor that is installed on our computers to help us write documents. Whether we use Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, or some other program, we nonetheless have this word processor to help us write documents.  There are many browsers available to us, but probably four of them that stand out the most.  These are: 1) Internet Explorer, which is made by Microsoft; 2) Safari, which is made by Apple; 3) Chrome, which is a Google product; and 4) Firefox, which is made by Mozilla.

Chrome and Google seem to be the biggest reason for confusion between browsers and search engines / operating systems.  The best way to think about it is that Google, just like Apple and Microsoft, are a company, and they provide services as well as products, one of which is a browser called Chrome.  Their website is google.com, which we can actually visit using Chrome, or Safari, or Internet Explorer.  It doesn’t really matter which browser you use, you’ll be able to visit google.com just the same. You could think of browsers as being like automobiles.  You can travel to any website using any vehicle, whether it’s Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or anything else.

You can have more than one browser on your computer.  Just like you can have a Ford in your garage right next to a Toyota, you can have Internet Explorer and Chrome installed side-by-side on your computer.

A home page is simply a default starting point.  When your browser opens up, whether it’s Chrome or Internet Explorer, it wants to show you a webpage.

This is the basic flow of viewing a web page.  You send a request over the network to a server, and it responds with a collection of web content.  Your browser interprets the content returned, and displays the page for you to digest.

Here’s a high-level structure of a web browser, and the components it uses to accomplish its task.

  • The user interface is what’s presented to the user to interact with.
  • A browser has a rendering engine which is responsible for displaying the visual representation of the web page in question.
  • The browser engine acts as a boss who directs and dictates actions between the user interface and the rendering engine, as well as being in charge of external communication with servers.
  • To receive content, the browser has to communicate over the network by asking for all the necessary images and documents that make up the page.
  • To apply interactive logic and functionality to our website, we rely on a programming language called The browser has no idea how to deal with JavaScript directly—therefore, we need a way to translate the information being communicated. This is done with something called a JavaScript Interpreter.
  • There’s also something called Data Storage: examples of Data Storage include Cookies and Local Storage to mention but two.