Web Browsers

The application program that you are running now is called a Web Browser. This program translates the embedded HTML codes into the graphical display that you see on the screen, more details on HTML can be found at the Origins of the Internet page.

There are various browsers in use at the moment, the first browser was called Mosaic and was free, but the two current market leaders are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. There are, of course, other browsers available, but it is likely that you are looking at this page from one of these browsers (unless you are viewing from an "alternative" machine, such as the Amiga, in which case, HiSoft IBrowse or Vaporware Voyager are the most popular browsers.

Whatever browser that you use, they all have several features in common. The first, and foremost of these, is the button bar at the top of the window. This contains several buttons used in Web navigation. These will all be explained below:

Image Name Description
Back button Back The "Back" button will return you to the previous location that you were at, for example, if you used the table on the "Main" page to come here, and now press the "Back" button, you will be returned to the "Main" page.
Forward Button Forward This is the opposite of the "Back" button, after using the "Back" button, this button can be used to move forwards again, it is usually less used than the "Back" button.
Home button Home This button is used to return you to a prespecified page. It is a useful "Panic" button if you get lost while surfing the webSmiley.
Reload Button Reload This button reloads the current page. This is useful for reloading a page if it changes, for example if you stop it loading midway through.
Images button Images This reloads the images on a page without actually reloading the whole page. This is really only useful for advanced users, or if the "AutoLoad Images" has been turned off from the preferences
Open button Open This button can be used to enter the URL of a web page directly, this is a bit redundant, actually, since it is much handier to enter the URL directly into the text box at the top of the page marked "Location"
find button Find This button is used to find specified text on a page. It is similar in function to the "Find" item used in word processors.
Stop button Stop This button stops a page loading. It is only accessible when a page is loading, and upon pressing it, the page will stop - handy for when a page takes forever and a day, so you can just cancel it and go somewhere else. Smiley

If the icons at the top of your browser don't look anything like this, or there are more of them, then don't worry, each browser has it's own look and feel (in fact, some browsers allow to change the look of the buttons, although I do not know whether this is possible with either of the major players). For example, Netscape Navigator looks very different from Microsoft Internet Explorer, but they should all provide the basic functions, and are, by default, set up to display the buttons as images and text, so you should be able to guess what they mean.

Bullet icon Main Page Bullet icon The Origins of the Net
Bullet icon Web Browsers Bullet icon Search Engines
Bullet icon Downloading Files Bullet icon The End