What is a browser?
A web browser is a software which gets web pages made up of HTML from a server on the internet or on the computer, processes those web pages and displays the content as described by the HTML document. A browser can display text, images, videos and play audio. Chances are that you are reading this tutorial in your favorite browser right now.
I think I have one already?!
Yes, every computer comes with a browser preinstalled. Many people tend to install another browser once they open a new device. While for purpose of browsing on the internet your current browser may be sufficient. But for the purpose of learning Web Design, we recommend you to get hold of multiple popular browsers. This makes it possible to ensure that the web pages you create, work correctly for the majority of your audience.
There are tons of browsers available to download over the internet. Most of them can be downloaded for free. Some of the browsers are more popular than others. This can be due to a variety of reasons like availability, ease of use, integration across multiple devices and so on.
The Usual Browsers
The most popular modern browsers for the Desktop platforms that can be downloaded from the internet for free are:
- Google Chrome
- This browser is currently the most popular browser on the internet. Chrome browser is developed by Google for almost every platform imaginable like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, etc… Chrome is a standard compliant browser with many features for web developers like debuggers, source code editors, etc…
- Mozilla Firefox
- Another popular browser from the internet is Firefox from the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox stands out from rest of the browsers because it is an open source browser which means you can freely download the source code and modify it to your liking. There are tons of free browser plugins for this browser making it one of the most versatile and flexible browsers.
- Microsoft Edge
- Edge is a recent entry into the browser market replacing the now outdated and infamous Internet Explorer. Edge provides more standards compliance than the previous internet explorer series. It is worthwhile to check out this browser because this browser will come pre-installed with every computer running Windows 10 OS and later updates.
- Apple Safari
- Similar to Microsoft Edge the Safari is the default browser shipped with Apple products like MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, etc… There is also now abandoned project of Safari for Windows.
- The last popular free browser on the list is the Opera Browser. This is a standard compliant browser which provides an alternative environment to the browsers mentioned above.
The above is not an exhaustive list. There may be other browsers used by your audience. New browsers can rise to prominence in no time and popular browsers can go out of the mainstream after a while. Only Time can tell.
Installing Google Chrome on Windows
Installing Mozilla Firefox on Windows
Installing Opera on Windows
Special Case: Mobile Browsers
Mobile phones have been on the rise and are increasingly replacing Desktops and Laptops for connecting to the internet for purposes like email, social networking, and browsing. This means that there have been the development of hundreds if not thousands of browsers for mobile platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. As you can see the mobile browser market is diverse and there can be no subset of browsers that can be considered to ensure that our web pages will display flawlessly. In this case, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of developers to ensure that web pages are responsive i.e the pages can adapt to the various screens like desktops, tablets, and phones. Some of the techniques for responsive development will also be taught in this tutorial.
Special mentions of some Mobile Browsers
- UC Browser
- Chrome for Mobile
- Safari for Mobile
- Opera Mini
- CM browser
- Firefox for mobile