What is a browser?

This is something I come across quite often in my job, when I ask people what browser they use. A lot of people genuinely don’t know. The most recent answers I had were: “Windows?” and “I’ve got Office, is that it?”

What is a browser?

For those who’re unsure, a browser — or a Web browser — is the program you use to view Web pages.

It’s likely what you’re using right now to read this blog (apart from you geeks using an RSS feed reader … but that’s a whole other ballpark of worms that I’m not going to get into right now!).

Right now, why not go to the Help option on your toolbar and click on the About option. That’ll tell you the browser that you’re using (or whatever other application you’re reading this from!).

Mine says that I’m using Mozilla Firefox 3.5. Go me!

Browser icons
Image from Webappers

Most people using Windows will have some version of Microsoft Internet Explorer installed by default; but not after October if you buy a new PC with Windows 7 installed. But there are loads of other ‘flavours’ of browser:

Each browser claims to do things better than the next: load pages quicker, run code faster, adhere to Web standards better. I certainly recommend you check out some of those other browsers. Why not start with those 4 above?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

One thought on “What is a browser?”

  1. So painful but yet so true.

    I love the narrow mindedness of some of my clients who are still using IE5.5 – IE6, that can’t grasp that because a finished site looks slightly different to the design in their browser, it will be perfect in the other 85% of browsers.

    Almost as bad as the less than 1% of Lotus Notes users that think because an email is broken in their email client it will break in all clients.

    It seems by adding an angled bracket as a “less than” symbol I broke the second half of my comment, so here’s the rest!

    (EDIT: I’ve just reunited the two halves of your comment, Matt. — Gareth)

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