a.k.a. Web browser

A program used to view, download, upload, surf, or otherwise access documents (for example, Web pages) on the Internet. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome are well-known Web browsers, just like Netscape used to be, and Opera is for others.

Browsers read pages that are "marked up" or coded, usually in HTML (and often with advanced scripts like PHP). These pages reside on servers. The browsers interpret the code into what we see rendered as a Web page. As well-designed software programs, browsers contain a variety of tools, including bookmarks and the back button, that make "surfing the Net" more enjoyable. You need a browser to "get on the Web."

It is important to keep your browsers updated otherwise you don't get the best Web experience! All you have to do is go to the Help tab on your browser and click About; they will usually prompt you to Update it from there.

Web browsers include Internet Explorer (no longer supported by Microsoft), Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, Safari, Chrome and many others, but you really only need to choose and use one.

Historical perspective: Mosaic was the first Web browser developed for public use, which debuted in 1993 and was discontinued by 1997. And Netscape, an early Internet company cofounded by Dr. James Clark (of SGI) and Marc Andreessen (of Mosaic), released its Web browser software in 1994, free of charge. They did this in order to be first-to-market and to gain market share. The company cashed in on the Web with a legendary IPO in August of 1995. It valued them at more than $4 billion dollars and led the way for many more wildly successful IPOs.

For many Web developers, Netscape was the beloved underdog competing against Microsoft, and it was the popular choice for source code and Web browsing. Some estimates claim nearly half of all Web browsing was done with Netscape Navigator. The Web site itself is now a portal (where you can still download versions of their browser for free), and the company, still based in Mountain View, California, was acquired by America Online, later called Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon.

NetLingo Classification: Net Software