Popular Web Browsers

Popular Web Browsers


The web is a collection of a huge amount of information. Every single web page consists of some information and also a number of links, which connects us to other related web pages. To visit the linked web pages, just click over the linked text and the next web page opens up.

Just like a word processing application is needed to open a word processor document, an application is needed to view an HTML document. To view a web page we need special software called web browser. Mosaic was the first web browser developed by National Centre for Supercomputing Application (NCSA). This browser didn’t have any special features like present day web browsers. It was not possible to view pictures or use any present day font formatting features in the web pages. Initially, the browsers were designed to show plain text, without any formatting.

With the increasing use, the need to incorporate additional features like text formatting, viewing images, playing sound, etc. was felt. Most modern day browsers incorporate all these features. Some other commonly used browsers are Netscape Navigator, Mozilla FireFox, Opera, Safari, MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer), etc. Almost all of these support a common set of rules of the language.

Popular Browsers

1)Firefox

Firefox is a very popular web browser. One of the great things about Firefox is that it is supported on all different OSs. Firefox is also open source which makes its support group a very large community of open source developers. Firefox is also known for its vast range of plugins/add-ons that let the user customize in a variety of ways. Firefox is a product of the Mozilla Foundation. The latest version of Firefox is Firefox 3.

Some of Firefox’s most prominant features include: tabbed browsing, a spell checker, incremental find, live bookmarking, a download manager, and an integrated search system that uses the user’s favorite search engine. Like mentioned before, one of the best things about Firefox is its vast amount of plugins/add-ons. Some of the most popular include NoScript (script blocker), FoxyTunes (controls music players), Adblock Plus (ad blocker), StumbleUpon (website discovery), DownThemAll! (download functions), and Web Developer (web tools).

2)Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer (IE - created by Microsoft) is a very prominant web browser for the Windows OS. IE is the most popular web browser. It comes pre-installed on all Windows computers. The latest version of IE is IE7 with IE8 in beta. IE was designed to view a broad range of web pages and to provide certain features within the OS.

IE almost fully supports HTML 4.01, CSS Level 1, XML 1.0, and DOM Level 1. It has introduced a number of proprietary extensions to many of the standards. This has resulted in a number of web pages that can only be viewed properly using IE. It has been subject to many security vulnerabilities just like Windows has. Much of the spyware, adware, and viruses across the Internet are made possible by exploitable bugs and flaws in the security architecture of IE. These are were drive-by downloads come into play (see computer security lesson for more details on that).

3) Safari

Safari (created by Apple) is a very popular web browser among Apple computers. Safari is also the native browser on the iPhone and iPod touch. Safari is available for Windows, but has not reached a very high level of Windows users since. In May 2008 Safari controlled 6.25% of marketshare among all web browsers.

4) Opera

Opera (created by the Opera Software company) is another fairly popular web browser. It handles common Internet-related tasks. Opera also includes features such as tabbed browsing, page zooming, mouse gestures, and an integrated download manager. Its security features include phishing and malware protection, strong encryption when browsing secure web sites, and the ability to easily delete private data such as cookies and browsing history. Opera runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux.


  • The Internet is a net consisting of complex network of computers connected by high speed communication technologies.
  • The Internet has penetrated and benefited every field – be it education, sports, news, business, etc.
  • A web page can be designed using HTML.
  • The Internet has converted the world into a global village.
  • The Internet has led to faster globalisation. A web page is an electronic document that we can see on the Internet.
  • Web browser is software required to view web pages.
  • Mosaic was the first web browser.
  • www is stand for World Wide Web.
  • Electronic mail can be sent and received through any e-mail account.
  • Downloading is saving of files from the Internet to our computer.
  • Attachments are the extra files that we can send with our email.
  • E-commerce stands for electronic-commerce which means buying and selling over the Internet.
  • M-commerce is an emerging field which stands for mobile commerce.
  • Teleconferencing is having online conference with the facility of exchanging thoughts using an audio.
  • Videoconferencing means having online conference with the facility of seeing and listening to other participants.
  • Telecommunication is the use of electronic system to send and receive voice, data and video messages.
  • Broadly there are five components of communication system, namely information/ message, device, application, protocol and network.
  • Voice communication requires telephone instruments like telephone, mobile or VoIP phones for PSTN, wireless or data network.
  • Data communication allows transfer of information and remote management of devices.
  • Data communication is undertaken by directly connected computers, printers, etc. in a Local Area Network.
  • Long distance data communication is done through point to point connections using PSTN or wireless networks.
  • Broadcasting of audio and telecasting of video service such as radio and television is done through wireless links.
  • Ethernet is the most popular LAN technology for data communication which provides communication speed up to 10Gbps.
  • Internet Protocol (IP) connects the computer across similar or diverse networks.
  • In IP, data packets are transmitted in packets containing unique IP addresses for the source and the destination.
  • IP automatically routes the packet to its destination through any available path.
  • Convergence of technologies is required to meet the next generation unified applications where all the three forms of data are required to be transmitted simultaneously.
  • IP is internationally accepted protocol through which all different forms of data can be communicated.
  • The approach to convergence is to make all components of communication systems IP enabled.
  • While trying to achieve convergence, effort is on to use existing infrastructure with partial upgradation.
  • Broadband and IPTV are two next generation technologies which use PSTN to provide unified services for voice, data and video.
  • VoIP is a data communication technology which allows IP phones and computers to connect to telephones through PSTN and mobile networks.
  • Unified messaging system is provided by web service providers which can be used to access multiple services like e-mail, chat, call and entertainment from a single computer system with Internet connection.
  • Standardisation is very important for interoperability of various components in any system,
  • There are organisations which develop standards, rules and specification for a product that the manufacturers have to meet.

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