We have said that a web browser is a software program which provides you with a way of viewing the information on the World Wide Web – it is essentially a window through which you can look at the information on the web.

Java consists of a new class of powerful mini-applications called Java Applets. These allow expert graphics rendering, animation, interaction and real-time updating of information. One of the main strengths of Java lies in the fact that it is understood by most computers

In this section we examine some of the basics you need to know about your browser.

1. Netscape versus Internet Explorer

Both Netscape and Internet Explorer come out in different versions, the latest being version 6 in both cases. The later versions are more capable and can use an increasing number of the latest features that the Internet has to offer, such as Dynamic HTML (DHTML), Virtual Reality Mark-up Language (VRML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Java and ActiveX.

Microsoft (Internet Explorer)
VRML is a language used to build virtual reality pages on the Web, while DHTML is an extension of HTML, allowing a web page developer to integrate dynamic programming with the otherwise static web page, bringing with it more interactivity and dynamism.
ActiveX consists of advanced browser technology used by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 3 and higher. It allows interactive controls to be included in web pages.

2. Which browser should you use

Where possible, you should attempt to use the latest possible version of a browser. If you use older versions of Netscape or Explorer, there may be many features built into a particular web site that your browser will not be able to access. Don’t be disappointed if you visit a web site and there is a message informing you that it has special features built into it that your version of the browser will not be able to display.

Error Messages
If the URL you entered is incorrect,the browser will show an error message something in the line of: “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site http://www.company.co.za. A connection with the server could not be established.”

DNS - What's that?
Sometimes you may get an error message which mentions that the server does not have a DNS entry. This suggests that the web address you have entered is incorrect – it cannot be found on any of the domain name servers (DNS) around the world. These servers are located in every country connected to the Web and there may be several such servers located in each country. They are all exact mirrors of each other and they contain the URLs of every page on the Web. These servers take the host name and change the text name into an IP address consisting of numbers which the computer can then understand and work with.

3. Ten basic functions you’ll want to know about your browser

  1. Loading a specific web page into the Web browser
  2. Navigating from Web page to Web page using hyperlinks
  3. The Back and Forward buttons
  4. Saving Web pages
  5. Printing Web pages
  6. The Stop and Refresh/Reload buttons
  7. The Home button and Home page
  8. The Favorites/Bookmarks feature
  9. The History function
  10. Finding words on individual Web pages