What to Know About Web Browsers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A person who uses Internet has surely used a web browser which is the computer software that retrieves, represents, and traverses digital information resources found on the worldwide web. The information resource is classified by a uniform resource identifier or URI and these could be an image, video, web page or any piece of digital content. The hyperlinks found in these information resources allow users to navigate easily the web browsers to the communicated resources.

The web browser starts functioning once the user types in a URI, for example, 'http:// thisisawebsite.com'. The prefix (in the example, it is "http") of the URI defines how the given URI is interpreted. The most common prefix used for a URI is "http" which determines that the information resource is to be regained through the hypertext transfer protocol.

There are other prefixes that are supported by browsers such as "https" (hypertext transfer protocol secure), "ftp" (file transfer protocol) and "file" (local files). If a prefix cannot be handled directly by a browser, the request is sent off entirely to another application. An example is the "mailto:" prefix where the URI is often passed to the default email application of the user and the "news:" prefix where the URI is often passed to the default news group reader of the user.

The first browser to be launched successfully was called Mosaic which was programmed by Eric Bina and Marc Andreessen in 1992 and released by 1993. During these years, the graphical services found online which are popular and dominating were from America Online (AOL), Prodigy and Compuserv. These online servicing companies do not provide Internet access.

Through Mosaic, Internet was opened for use of the common people. It gives easier ways to navigate and explore the World Wide Web and it is free. By mid-90's, Andreessen made a partnership with the former initiator of Silicon Graphics, Jim Clark and Netscape was born.

Netscape became number one for a while until Microsoft started pre-packaging its web browser into its Windows operating systems. Microsoft's Internet Explorer or IE was way behind Netscape in a lot of ways. IE had been criticized because of its abundant bugs, security problems and lack of conventionality to the standard protocols of the web. However, since a lot of new computer and internet users are unaware and unconcern of these risks, IE became the top choice for by 1998.

Netscape allowed the release of the source code of its browser the very same year. Because of this, the web browser was rewritten with substantial changes over the years that followed. Afterwards, Mozilla, an open source type of web browser, was born under Mozilla Organization.

Source: http://goo.gl/xkW3N
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