Apr 17, 2014

Video: What is a browser?

A browser is a program that allows users to access and view pages on the World Wide Web. While there are many browser choices, there are three main defaults most users will encounter:
  • Internet Explorer is the default browser on Windows machines. 
  • Safari is the default browser on Apple products.
  • Chrome is the default browser on Google devices.

Firefox and/or Chrome are often installed as an alternative to Internet Explorer on Windows machines.

The HTML Working Group of the W3C develops the specifications for HTML and CSS (how web pages are built). The rendering engine of each browser interprets the HTML and CSS in its own way. This causes quirks in spacing, layering, even the functioning of embedded objects. Web page designers will often include code that accommodates the quirks of most popular browsers, ensuring that most users will share the same view of their site.

Sometimes it is not feasible for a web designer to accommodate for all browsers, in which case they will declare their page best viewed through a specific browser. As an example, IEP Planner Plus requires Internet Explorer for all functions to work. Another example: Safari does not support Flash (authoring software behind many graphics based objects on the web, such as Glogster and TumbleBooks). Attempting to view Flash content through Safari will render only an error message. (A Flash friendly option: Puffin. The free version includes time restrictions and ads; we use the paid version on the Media Center iPads.)

Visit Top 10 Reviews: Internet Browsers to view a comparison chart of several browsers and their features.