Technical Terms and Definitions

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Browser - Software

A browser is an application program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web. The word "browser" seems to have originated prior to the Web as a generic term for user interfaces that let you browse text files online. By the time the first Web browser with a graphical user interface was invented (Mosaic, in 1992), the term seemed to apply to Web content, too. Technically, a Web browser is a client program that uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to make requests of Web servers throughout the Internet on behalf of the browser user. A commercial version of the original browser, Mosaic, is in use. Many of the user interface features in Mosaic, however, went into the first widely-used browser, Netscape Navigator. Microsoft followed with its Microsoft Internet Explorer. Today, these two browsers are highly competitive and the only two browsers that the vast majority of Internet users are aware of. Although the online services, such as America Online, Compuserve, and Prodigy, originally had their own browsers, virtually all now offer the Netscape or Microsoft browser. Lynx is a text-only browser for UNIX shell and VMS users. Another recently offered browser is Opera.