Browser Basics:

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
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There are a many ways of getting around on a web page and of moving between pages. You can use your mouse, the keyboard, toolbar buttons, Favorites, and History. Frames and forms have their own little tricks.

In next several pages you will use web pages from the resource files to practice all the navigation techniques. These pages will let you experience some of the problems that you will run into in the "real world".

If you don't have a copy of these files yet, download and install them now:  resource files

Before we get started with navigating web pages, let's first look at how a page loads.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Web

Before you start...

Project 1: Browser Basics    ConnectingTo subtopics
    IE InterfaceTo subtopics
    icon-footprintAddress Bar
    icon-footprintAddress Paths
    PrintingTo subtopics
    SavingTo subtopics
    SearchingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: HTML BasicsTo subtopics


How a page loads

What's first?

When your browser asks for a simple web page, it first receives the source code for the page. This HTML file contains the text of the page. Your browser reads the code and starts displaying it while it asks for any other files that are used in the page, such as images, sound files, and attached files for scripts and stylesheets. The browser receives these one at a time. This process can take quite awhile for long pages, pages with many graphics, or for a page with a large graphic.


If the page contains tables, you can't see anything in the table until the browser has finishing calculating the sizes for all the rows and columns. Some pages are blank for quite a while and then the whole page pops into view because the whole page is a single table! A table displays faster if the web author gives the dimensions for all the table parts and all the images in the table.


Your browser inserts a placeholder image Icon for Image not loaded for every image on the page that it has not displayed yet. It's strange, but there is no way to control the order that images appear.

Alt text for imageUntil an image or other object is displayed, you might see some text in the spot where the image or object will go. This text should describe the object or its use, especially if it is a link. Such descriptions are actually read out loud by software that reads a page to blind people. Some people turn off the loading of images to move along faster. They like this ALT text (for alternate), too. The ALT text also appears in some browsers as a popup tip when the pointer hovers over the image or object.


The browser stores all the files it receives on your hard drive in the browser's cache.  By default, Internet Explorer uses C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files to store these files.

Temporary Internet Files

On a return visit to a page, your browser will look in this folder to see if it already has what it needs to display the page. If it does, then the browser does not have to ask the web server for that material again. The page will display much faster on return visits. You can actually open the pages in the cache without being online at all.

You set limits for how much space this folder can be allowed to use (  View  |  Internet Options... |  General  |  Settings... ). New pages will eventually overwrite the files for pages that you saw earlier.


In your cache you may see some cookies . This kind of cookie is not a sweet baked dessert. It is just a small text file that a web site created to store information about your visit to the site. Only the site that created the cookie can read it again. Web sites that let you personalize the page you see are probably using a cookie to keep track of your choices. The next time you visit the site, the page may greet you by name and forms can automatically fill in your name and address.

TipYou do not have to wait for a page to finish loading before you can use the links on the page. Do not waste your time when you know that you want to go somewhere else! Sometimes you may have to click the Stop button on the toolbar to make the browser stop loading so it can respond to your mouse.