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Understanding Web Browsers: A Comprehensive Overview


Web browsers translate code into the dynamic web pages that form the backbone of our online experiences.


GS III: Science and Technology

Understanding Web Browsers: A Comprehensive Overview

Definition and Purpose:
  • A browser is an internet application facilitating the exchange of messages.
  • It operates on devices, fetching and displaying information from the internet while translating user inputs into code for transmission.
Origins and Evolution:
  • In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee introduced the concept of the World Wide Web, later named ‘WorldWideWeb.’
Core Components of Modern Web Browsers:
  • Request and Response:
    • When entering a URL, the browser sends a request to a server for specific web page contents.
    • The server processes the request and formulates a response containing the required information.
  • Deconstructing the Response:
    • The server’s response consists of files encoded in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language):
    • Provides the structural blueprint of a webpage.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets):
    • Controls aesthetics, including color schemes, fonts, spacing, and positioning.
  • JavaScript:
    • Adds dynamism, enabling interactivity such as pop-ups, forms, animations, and real-time updates.
  • Rendering:
    • Involves interpreting HTML structure, applying CSS for style, and executing JavaScript for interactivity.
  • Managing Data:
    • Browsers act as custodians of digital footprints, using tools like cookies and cache to enhance the online experience.
  • Cookies:
    • Small data snippets stored by websites on user computers.
Significance of Cookies and Cache:
  • Cookies enhance online experiences by storing data, while cache improves browsing speed by storing frequently accessed information.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024