- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

Web browser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An example of a web browser (Mozilla Firefox) showing the main Wikipedia web page.
An example of a web browser (Mozilla Firefox) showing the main Wikipedia web page.

A web browser is a software application that enables a user to display and interact with text, images, and other information typically located on a web page at a website on the World Wide Web or a local area network. Text and images on a web page can contain hyperlinks to other web pages at the same or different websites. Web browsers allow a user to quickly and easily access information provided on many web pages at many websites by traversing these links.

Web browsers available for personal computers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Netscape, and Opera, in order of descending popularity (as of August 2006).[1] Web browsers are the most commonly used type of HTTP user agent. Although browsers are typically used to access the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by web servers in private networks or content in file systems.

Protocols and standards

Web browsers communicate with web servers primarily using HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) to fetch webpages. HTTP allows web browsers to submit information to web servers as well as fetch web pages from them. The most commonly used HTTP is HTTP/1.1, which is fully defined in RFC 2616. HTTP/1.1 has its own required standards that Internet Explorer does not fully support, but most other current-generation web browsers do.

Pages are located by means of a URL (uniform resource locator), which is treated as an address, beginning with http: for HTTP access. Many browsers also support a variety of other URL types and their corresponding protocols, such as ftp: for FTP (file transfer protocol), rtsp: for RTSP (real-time streaming protocol), and https: for HTTPS (an SSL encrypted version of HTTP).

The file format for a web page is usually HTML (hyper-text markup language) and is identified in the HTTP protocol using a MIME content type. Most browsers natively support a variety of formats in addition to HTML, such as the JPEG, PNG and GIF image formats, and can be extended to support more through the use of plugins. The combination of HTTP content type and URL protocol specification allows web page designers to embed images, animations, video, sound, and streaming media into a web page, or to make them accessible through the web page.

Early web browsers supported only a very simple version of HTML. The rapid development of proprietary web browsers led to the development of non-standard dialects of HTML, leading to problems with Web interoperability. Modern web browsers support standards-based HTML and XHTML, which should display in the same way across all browsers. Internet Explorer does not fully support HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.x yet. Currently many sites are designed using WYSIWYG HTML generation programs such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. These often generate non-standard HTML by default, hindering the work of the W3C in developing standards, specifically with XHTML and CSS (cascading style sheets, used for page layout).

Some of the more popular browsers include additional components to support Usenet news, IRC (Internet relay chat), and e-mail. Protocols supported may include NNTP (network news transfer protocol), SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol), IMAP (Internet message access protocol), and POP (post office protocol). These browsers are often referred to as Internet suites or application suites rather than merely web browsers.

Brief history

A NeXTcube was used by Tim Berners-Lee (who pioneered the use of hypertext for sharing information) as the world's first web server, and also to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb in 1990. Berners-Lee introduced it to colleagues at CERN in March 1991. Since then the development of web browsers has been inseparably intertwined with the development of the web itself.

The first browser, Silversmith, was created by John Bottoms in 1987.[2] The browser, based on SGML tags, used a tag set from the Electronic Document Project of the AAP with minor modifications and was sold to a number of early adopters. At the time SGML was used exclusively for the formatting of printed documents. The use of SGML for electronically displayed documents signalled a shift in electronic publishing and was met with considerable resistance. Silversmith included an integrated indexer, full text searches, hypertext links between images text and sound using SGML tags and a return stack for use with hypertext links. It included features that are still not available in today's browsers. These include capabilities such as the ability to restrict searches within document structures, searches on indexed documents using wild cards and the ability to search on tag attribute values and attribute names. SGML-FAQ US Patent

In fall of 1992, Tony Johnson releases the MidasWWW browser. Based on Motif/X, MidasWWW allows viewing of PostScript files on the Web from Unix and VMS, and even handles compressed PostScript. [1]

Another early popular web browser was ViolaWWW, which was modeled after HyperCard. However, the explosion in popularity of the web was triggered by NCSA Mosaic which was a graphical browser running originally on Unix but soon ported to the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms. Version 1.0 was released in September 1993, and was dubbed the killer application of the Internet. Marc Andreessen, who was the leader of the Mosaic team at NCSA, quit to form a company that would later be known as Netscape Communications Corporation.

Netscape released its flagship Navigator product in October 1994, and it took off the next year. Microsoft, which had thus far not marketed a browser, now entered the fray with its Internet Explorer product, purchased from Spyglass Inc. This began what is known as the browser wars, the fight for the web browser market between Microsoft and Netscape.

The wars put the web in the hands of millions of ordinary PC users, but showed how commercialization of the web could stymie standards efforts. Both Microsoft and Netscape liberally incorporated proprietary extensions to HTML in their products, and tried to gain an edge by product differentiation. Starting with the acceptance of the Microsoft proposed Cascading Style Sheets over Netscape's JavaScript Style Sheets (JSSS) by W3C, the Netscape browser started being generally considered inferior to Microsoft's browser version after version, from feature considerations to application robustness to standard compliance. The wars effectively ended in 1998 when it became clear that Netscape's declining market share trend was irreversible. This trend may have been due in part to Microsoft's integrating its browser with its operating system and bundling deals with OEMs; Microsoft faced antitrust litigation on these charges.

Netscape responded by open sourcing its product, creating Mozilla. This did nothing to slow Netscape's declining market share. The company was purchased by America Online in late 1998. At first, the Mozilla project struggled to attract developers, but by 2002 it had evolved into a relatively stable and powerful internet suite. Mozilla 1.0 was released to mark this milestone. Also in 2002, a spin off project that would eventually become the popular Mozilla Firefox was released. In 2004, Firefox 1.0 was released; Firefox 1.5 was released in November 2005. Firefox 2, a major update, was released in October 2006 and work has already begun on Firefox 3 which is scheduled for release in 2007. As of 2006, Mozilla and its derivatives account for approximately 12% of web traffic.

Opera, an innovative, speedy browser popular in handheld devices, particularly mobile phones, as well as on PCs in some countries was released in 1996 and remains a niche player in the PC web browser market. It is available on the Nintendo DS Lite and has been confirmed for Nintendo's Wii console.[2]

The Lynx browser remains popular for Unix shell users and with vision impaired users due to its entirely text-based nature. There are also several text-mode browsers with advanced features, such as w3m, Links (which can operate both in text and graphical mode), and the Links forks such as ELinks.

While the Macintosh scene too has traditionally been dominated by Internet Explorer and Netscape, the future appears to belong to Apple's Safari which is based on Apple's WebKit layout engine, derived from the KHTML layout engine of the open source Konqueror browser. Safari is the default browser on Mac OS X.

In 2003, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer would no longer be made available as a separate product but would be part of the evolution of its Windows platform, and that no more releases for the Macintosh would be made. However, more recently in early 2005, Microsoft changed its plans and released version 7 of Internet Explorer for Windows in October 2006.


Different browsers can be distinguished from each other by the features they support. Modern browsers and web pages tend to utilize many features and techniques that did not exist in the early days of the web. As noted earlier, with the browser wars there was a rapid and chaotic expansion of browser and World Wide Web feature sets.

The following is a list of some of the most notable features:

Standards support

  • HTTP and HTTPS
  • Graphics file formats including GIF, PNG, JPEG, and SVG
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • JavaScript (Dynamic HTML) and XMLHttpRequest
  • Cookie
  • Digital certificates
  • Favicons
  • RSS, Atom

Fundamental features

  • Bookmark manager
  • Caching of web contents
  • Support of media types via plugins such as Macromedia Flash and QuickTime

Usability and accessibility features

  • Autocompletion of URLs and form data
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Spatial navigation
  • Caret navigation
  • Screen reader or full speech support

Annoyance removers

  • Pop-up advertisement blocker
  • Advert filtering
  • Phishing defenses


  1. ^ Browser Market Share for Calendar Q2, 2006. Market Share by Net
  2. ^ John Bottoms' short biography

See also

  • Anonymous web browsing
  • History of the Internet
  • Accessibility
  • Browser exploit
  • Microbrowser
  • Web application
  • List of web browsers
  • Offline Browser
  • Comparison of web browsers
  • Usage share of web browsers
  • Web server
  • Browser timeline
  • Refreshing/reloading a page
  • Open Source Web Browser

External links

  • Browser timeline (1993-2003)
  • - Browser Archive
  • Viewable with Any Browser: Campaign
  • Macintosh Web Browsers
  • W3Schools Browser Statistics
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