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Browser Basics
Learn about how you access the internet!
 Chapter 3 - Browser Basics
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  Ok, now you have an idea of how information is routed around the net, and you have some clue of what happens when you turn your computer on, well then what enables you to view all of that content which is stored on the Internet? There are many ways to access information on the net, the most common would be with your Internet browser, hence you "browse" the net.

Your browser basically is a translator. It converts Internet languages into readable content for you to enjoy. When you launch which ever browser you use, most likely Microsoft Internet Explorer, your browser connects to your home page. Your home page can be any page you want it to be, make it ours! When your browser sees that you are connected to a network, the Internet, and starts reading the information stored on the home page's server this is when you start to see a page appear. The page which is loading, and the page you are seeing now, is just a file located on the hard drive of the computer acting as the server. Most of the time it is either a .htm or .html file. This file is located in a file directory in much the same way files are located on your computer. For example, most of the program files on your computer are automatically installed in your C:\program files\ directory. Using this example; C:\ is the main directory, or highest level directory, and \program files\ is a sub-directory, or a folder which exist within the C:\ directory. "Program files" is not a file though just a directory, files and sub-directories can exist within it's own higher, parent, directory. This is the same way on the Internet, since all your looking at on the net is another computer after all. If you were to type in into your web browser address bar you are telling it to go to that computer and open which ever file I have put in the main directory. If you type in you are telling your browser to find the "acc" directory and then display the file "compbasics.html". You can try this example yourself.

Now, after you get the browser to find a file, what does it see? If you think it sees the same thing you see, there would be no need for browsers, you could just view the Internet in almost any program. The problem is however you could not get too fancy with the webpage though, if there was text on a page, that's all you would see, nothing else! BORING! The Internet would be one big book with no pictures, just billions of words. We need a way to manipulate webpage files to allow for images and large text for headings, and for links to easily access other pages on the net. So, some guy way back in the day decided to make a special way of writing a webpage so all these things could be possible.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is what evolved. This allows there to be invisible parts of a webpage file that you all never see. These parts are for the browser only. They give the browser commands or directions. If I want a word to be a link to another page I will write a little piece of HTML to tell the browser to display that text as a clickable link, and to go where I say when you click it. The cool thing is you can look at all this for yourself if you like. Right-click anywhere on this page, or any page on the net, and then select "view source" and you will see what the browser sees. This is actually what the file looks like on the server computer. You'll notice alot of gibberish written between greater and less than signs < >. This is what I as a webmaster need to know how to write in order to generate great pages. If you are interested in learning more about HTML, let me know. I might share the knowledge.

OK, let us recap. Your browser is just a program which interprets Internet language into webpages. That is all it is.

 end of Chapter 3
< previous | next >
chapter - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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