Posts Tagged ‘chrome’

When I’m watching someone else navigate around the web, or when I’m doing some tech support, I’m always amazed that people don’t know the difference between the chrome of a program and the contents of the program.  This is important and useful.

Chrome is all the grayish silver stuff around the edges of a program window.  Some of it is blue, but it should be clear which parts of the window belong to the software and which to the program.

Let’s say you’re looking at this page in Internet Explorer.  At the very top is a blue bar that tells you the name of the web page you’re on. Different versions put bars in different places, but in the chrome you should see:

  • An address bar that shows the web address of the page you’re on
  • Back and next buttons
  • Probably a search box
  • Various other buttons
  • (Probably) some tabs

Key point!  Those buttons and tabs manage the browser itself (that is, Internet Explorer, which is the software).  They don’t do anything to the content of the page.

The chrome also includes the slider bar on the right, and the status bar at the bottom.

Inside the chrome is the web page.  It’s the part that changes when you click something on the page.  

You could think of the chrome like a car window.  Inside the car you control where the car goes, and whether the window is open or closed.  The view through the window is the web page, quite separate from the car, even though you’re viewing it through the car window.

I have something else to say about chrome and searching the web, but that’s another post. 

In any program you use – Word, Outlook, etc. – there is chrome and there is content.  I suggest next time you open up, say, Word, you pay attention to the difference.  The document you create is the content and everything else is the chrome.

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