Think of the web as the illustrated version of the Internet. It began in the late 1980's when physicist Dr. Tim Berners-Lee wrote a small computer program for his own personal use. This program allowed pages, within his computer, to be linked together using 'keywords'.
It soon became possible to link documents in different computers as long as they were connected to the Internet. However, at this stage documents viewed were all text based and plain. The document formatting language used to link these documents is called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language.)
In 1993, Mosaic became the first popular 'graphical' Web browser and was offered free to the general public. Mosaic was produced by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). By 1994, Mosaic had a user base of several million users worldwide.
This technology was quickly transferred to the private sector when Marc Andreessen and several other developers who worked on Mosaic formed the company Netscape Communications.
The Mosaic software was also licensed to a number of other companies including Microsoft. Microsoft went on to develop the Microsoft Internet Explorer.
The producers of Mosaic, the NCSA, announced in January 1997 that it was halting development of the Mosaic browser in order to concentrate on other activities. NCSA and the production of Mosaic was a main contributor to the initial success of the World Wide Web.
Browsers work by reading web pages that are 'marked up' or coded, in most cases in HTML. Web pages can be found on servers internationally. The web browser reads the code and translates that into the web page that is displayed within the browser. The browser allows us to view, download, upload, surf and access documents on the Internet.
Browsers also provide a number of easy to use functions such as forward and backward navigation buttons, favourite lists and history folders that help make surfing the Internet easy.
Streaming Video, Audio, Animation, 3D... it's all on the web, but sometimes your browser may need a little help to display it.
Often files are in formats that need special plug-ins installed onto your browser so that you can access them. We have compiled a list of the most popular plug-ins available for you to download and install, including their advertised functions.
Use of such plug-ins is of course subject to the Terms & Conditions of the particular licensor. We do not endorse or make any representation regarding these plug-ins or the results that may be obtained from using them.
Windows Media Player:
The Windows Media Player extends your browser to playback Windows Media files right from the browser. Mac & PC supported.
To download Windows Media Player visit the Windows Media Player download page.
The Macromedia Shockwave plug-in extends your browser to stream Shockwave audio and view interactive Shockwave files on the web. Mac & PC supported.
To download Shockwave visit the Shockwave download page.
The Macromedia Shockwave Flash plug-in extends your browser to view Shockwave Flash animations on the web. Mac & PC supported.
To download Shockwave Flash visit the Shockwave Flash download page.
The Apple Quicktime plug-in extends your browser to play QuickTime digital video and streaming media on the web. Mac & PC supported.
To download Apple Quicktime visit the Quicktime download page.