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.
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 http://www.armerfamily.com
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 http://www.armerfamily.com/acc/compbasics.html 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
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.