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Browsers for Dummies


browsers
As the search for a common platform between computers which run on different operating systems started, the internet was the answer. Internet was invented in 1991 and around the same time, text only browsers were also programmed. So, in theory, browsers have existed since 1991 but they didn't support images until 1993 through Mosaic 1.

As the internet advanced, so did the browsers. This article talks about the 'behind the scenes' of a browser, layman comparison of browsers and an insight into the future of browsers.

A browser is a simple computer program that can detect the code and execute it not on the user's computer but on the host server. Hence, a website that is loaded from a server works on all the operating systems as the actual code is being executed on the server and not on the user's computer. A browser just shows you the result of the code. Hence the name browser.

Presently we have a big choice of browsers to choose from. Some popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Flock etc. We have different browsers written by different companies. Some browsers like firefox and flock are open source i.e different people contribute code to the program with a view of developing the program and not for financial gain. Internet Explorer is from Microsoft and it comes pre-loaded on all Windows machines. Hence Internet Explorer has become a generic name for a web browser. Mac has its own set of browsers like Safari and Camino along with Firefox.

Just listing the available browsers is no fun. The truth remains in the backend as to the main differences between the browsers.

There is an organization called W3C which makes the coding rules for all the browsers. In the sense, W3C specifies how a particular code should be executed and the general set of code that it recognizes. Internet Explorer is a browser which does not adhere to the W3C rules and they made their own set of rules and their own functions. This has caused a big controversy in the browser industry. Many geeks like myself have not supported Internet Explorer's stand on code deciphering. Firefox is the browser that is most popular with people who are knowledgeable about computers and internet. It follows the rules very closely and web designers often do not have problems with firefox but on the contrary Internet Explorer is a nightmare. I wrote an article on why Internet Explorer shouldn't be used a while back. Opera and Flock are popular but not as much Firefox. Read an article by me on browser wars. It talks more about different browsers and there are some interesting comments as well.

Modern browsers are developing many features that make our browsing experience a wonderful one. All the latest browsers have tabs. If more than one website needs to be browsed, a new window need not be opened but a tab would accomplish the job just as good or maybe better. Firefox uses extensions which can extend the functionality of a browser from just browsing to a lot of different functions. There are rumors that 3D browsers are going to be a reality in the very near future.

These are some of the basic things that one needs to know about a web browser. If you feel that there needs to be more information covered under this topic, do let me know. I will be eager to hear your opinions.