The role of a web browser stands simple – you input a query, and it brings the associated results directly to your device.
However, a lot is going on in the backend, right from when it retrieves the information from a particular webserver to when it displays the resources onto your window.
On the front end, every browser comes with different feature sets. While some have their eyes set on being a privacy-centric browser, others focus primarily on the customization front (well, there’s now even a gaming browser!).
These differences are needed so that each browser is easily distinguishable, which would give them a unique identity.
The Role of HTTP
However, when it comes to performing their primary task of retrieving and displaying information, uniformity is an element. Every bit of data that is transferred during this process follows the HyperText Transfer Protocol.
HTTP governs how a particular piece of information, be it text, images, or any other file, should be transmitted to the web. In other words, it acts as a foundation stone for any data exchange happening across the web.
Webpages in HTML Format
On the other hand, the web pages you access via your desired browser have been written in HyperText Markup Language. It is again a standard language that every site across the web needs to follow.
All the rules have been written in the HTML and CSS specifications which the World Wide Web Consortium maintains.
Your browser wouldn’t understand the standard text; instead, they need to be supplied with all the information in the HTML format.
So rather than the plain text you see in the front end, the browser is primarily interested in whatever is happening behind the scenes, i.e., the content within the HTML, Head, Body, and other such tags.
Use of Browser’s Rendering Engine
However, they wouldn’t be interested in this HTML data; instead, they need to get hold of the UI element of the associated data to act upon. This is where a browser’s rendering engine comes into the picture.
As soon as it gets hold of the required resource from a webpage, the engine translates that data to a user-understandable format, and hence you would be able to see the desired site, image, or video.
By default, these engines deal with XML and HTML contents effectively, but their domain could be expanded using third-party add-ons.
Furthermore, different browsers use different types of rendering engines. For example, Firefox uses Gecko; Safari uses WebKit, whereas Chrome uses a fork of WebKit (Blink).
URL for every Webpage
However, with such a plethora of information across the web, how would they be identifiable? To provide a unique identity to each element across the web, they are assigned a unique address. This is also known as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).
So every website you see, including an image, video, or document, all have been assigned a unique URL. You need to click on that link, and you would then be able to access it with just a single click.
The Need for Uniformity?
In all of these, you might have witnessed one key thing- there is a common framework specified that each browser needs to be in line with.
For example, the data transmission is taken care of by HTTP, websites follow the HTML, which is governed by the W3C body. So what was the need for this consistency?
Well, there is a plentitude of information spread across the web, belonging to different regions of the world. If every browser followed its own set of rules, then a lack of uniformity would have made it extremely difficult for the users to understand the information they are trying to retrieve.
But by maintaining a consistent workflow, every user can get hold of the same information from any device, be it in any corner of the world.
Bottom Line: How Browser Works?
So on that note, we round off this write-up on how a web browser works. Do keep in mind that following these web standards doesn’t mean that every web browser needs to be a carbon copy of each other.
They could easily differentiate themselves in the UI/UX front, which they provide, among other things. It’s just that their backend functionality needs to be in line with the rules that have been laid down.
So with that, we conclude this guide. If you have any queries related to the information mentioned above, do let us know in the comments section below.
Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for your computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.
|Chrome Windows||Chrome Mac||Chrome iOS||Chrome Android||Firefox Linux|
|Firefox Windows||Safari Mac||Safari iOS||Edge Android||Chrome Linux|
|Edge Windows||Firefox Mac||Edge iOS||Samsung Internet||Edge Linux|
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