Web pages present a cascading explosion of multimedia. One Web page after another
shares text, images, gadgets, maps, video, sound, and multimedia effects with a
simple click or finger tap on any laptop or smartphone. Web sites are collections
of related Web pages. Web pages are displayed by Web browsers whose job it is to
locate and display Web information.
The dominant Web browser for the past two decades has been Microsoft’s Internet
Explorer. Internet Explorer’s early forerunners and innovative competitors, National
Supercomputing Center’s freeware browser Mosaic and Netscape Navigator, have
all but evaporated from common use. Fortunately, a recent renaissance in browser
development has produced some challenging mainstream competitors to Internet
Explorer, including Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and Google’s Chrome. Other
interesting niche browsers include Opera, Avant, and Flock. Refer to Figure 1–1 for
common browser icons.
Our guess is that—if you are reading this book—you’re already comfortable
using at least one browser to go online. We suggest that you download three or four
of these innovative browsers that you have not yet used to view Web pages. Give
these new browsers a spin. Get a feel of the creativity behind today’s browsing
capacities. In this text, we give instructions for the two most widely used browsers,
Internet Explorer and Firefox. However, browsers share many features, so the
instructions for other browsers are very similar and you should easily be able to
figure out how to use them.