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Posts Tagged ‘internet explorer’

This post is related to my previous post about chrome.

Every browser has an address bar.

(Wait, what’s a browser?  It’s the software you use for viewing pages on the internet.  It’s not the internet itself, but the way in.  Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox are popular browsers.)

The address bar is located at the top of the browser chrome. You’ll notice right now that it contains this address:  https://wonkywheel.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/searching-the-web.  That’s where we are.

Here are things you can type into the address bar:

  • A full web address, like the one in the previous paragraph. This takes you directly to that page.
  • A partial web address, like google.com.  This takes you to the home page of whatever site you typed in.  Some browsers, like Firefox, don’t require the use of the extension .com (or .org, or .net).  Once you get to that site, you’ll notice that the address in the bar changes to the full address, e.g., http://google.com
  • Search terms, like “wonky wheel”.  These open a page in Google or Yahoo (or perhaps another search engine) that shows the results of the search.

Very handy.

You may be in the habit of entering a web address into a Yahoo, Google, etc. search box.  Quit it!  Search engines are not designed to find web addresses from web addresses.  They are designed to find web addresses from search terms.  If you have the address, use the box in the chrome.

Many modern browsers have a Yahoo or Google search box built into the chrome.  It’s still a search box, not a place to put a web address.  It’s essentially a link to Yahoo or Google.

One more thing.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, etc. are web sites.  They are not the internet.  They are not the browser.  They’re just a special kind of web site.

Whoo, that’s the end of this bossy post.

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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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