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The “Face” of The Web is Secretly Your Best Friend

Think about all the functions you perform in your daily tasks. How many of them require the use of the internet? It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to be living in an age where the entire cataloged history of human information is available at the touch of a finger. Accessing the internet may seem like a simple task on the surface, but there are many technologies working in tandem to ensure that your devices are able to communicate. One core piece of this puzzle is the web browser.

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple’s Safari are the most popular browsers by market share (read: number of global users) with Chrome specifically leading the pack at an estimated 65.3% share and each come with their own pros, features and idiosyncrasies. Regardless of which you choose to use, they all follow a similar design paradigm which is ever evolving to keep up with new advances in computing technology.

Simplified, a web browser functions by interpreting code and displaying associated web content, which includes everything from text and images to videos and interactive elements. When a user enters a web address (i.e. https://www.collierclerk.com) or clicks on a link (typically blue highlighted text), the browser sends a request to a web server (another computer with software designed to handle web-based requests), which then retrieves the requested content and sends it back to the browser. The browser then processes the content and displays it on the user’s screen, allowing for viewing and interaction. To achieve this functionality, modern browsers rely on their rendering engine, which interprets HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to display web pages correctly. Without this rendering process, every “page” on a website would look like raw code which would NOT be very helpful or pleasant to the average user. Additionally, browsers may include features such as bookmarks, history, and extensions to enhance the user experience. However, these are not requirements for a browser to be classified as one, and many esoteric examples exist, including the text-only browser (aptly named) Links.

Here at the Clerk’s Office our IT team provides our employees and customers with Microsoft Edge as the primary browser of choice due to its tight integration with the rest of the Microsoft software ecosystem which powers many businesses globally, including ours! Having the latest core browser technologies allows our teams to ensure high degrees of security and reliability for the various web-based systems that we provide to the public including access to Court Case information, Official Records archives, and passport information. Evergreen tasks like rapid email management, calendaring, virtual meetings, and general information access also benefit from the speed and compatibility of using the latest browsers.

Much like in your daily life, browsers have evolved alongside the internet and shape the way we interact with information on a global scale. Arguably they are one of the most important pieces of software to have on any computing device as more traditional software functionality is being re-written for a web-first environment.

Download the full April 2024 Newsletter here.