What is a Web Browser?
Before the Internet was a part of everyone’s lives, people used their computers in a very different way. Instead of connecting to a “service” in “the cloud,” we had to install a program on our computer. A web browser was one of those programs, and those lucky few with access to the Internet used a web browser to “browse” pages online, like a global collection of documents. The web browser was just the window to all these documents.
However the Internet has become exponentially larger, and most tasks can be done online, including ones that the early Internet wasn’t even aware of. Instead of basic documents, web”pages” are now programs in their own right, still accessible through the “window” of a browser.
When you visit a site with a web browser, this process happens: First, your browser sends a request to the site saying “someone wants to visit xyz.com.” Xyz.com is happy to have a visitor and sends back three types of information: Content, structure, and style. These three components are encoded in languages that are universally agreed on by web browsers. When the information reaches your computer, the web browser interprets these three components and displays it on your page the way the person who wrote the site intended.