Web Browsers and Why They’re Important

Your web browser is the program that presents webpages for you to see on your computer.

Examples of commonly used browsers are

  • Internet Explorer
  • Netscape Navigator
  • Opera
  • WebTV

Do a view source on your browser right now — I’ll wait.

Wow, did you know all that stuff was there? The source for a webpage, the stuff you just saw is the HTML that the server sends the browser. This is what comes from the website directly to your computer and then gets rendered into what you actually see on the browser window.

As you can see from comparing the source of a webpage to the browser rendering you’re used to looking at, there’s a lot of interpretation going on by the time a person actually sees what they are going to see on a site.

It’s a really great feature, because it means that most all the technicalities involved in making a webpage work are hidden from the visitor, the person for whom the page is intended.

There is a problem that crops up now and again though. What happens when people use different browsers?

A browser is a computer program, as said. Well, one person may be using Internet Explorer 5.01 on their Mac, while another is using the same browser only on their PC. Those are actually two different programs, and they do some things in different ways. This leads to trouble.