The Web Browser - Miscrosoft Internet Explorer
The Web Browser is your window onto the World Wide Web (WWW). There exists a variety of web browser programs for all computer platforms and all work in a similar fashion, providing similar functions. Under the National Grid for Learning intitiative (NGfL), Baglan has provided you with version 5.5 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as a modern web browser. The following will explain the main features of the web browser.

The first two buttons in the toolbar are labelled Back and Forward. These act like turning pages in a book, allowing you to move back through WWW pages you have recently visited, or move forward again. Note that these buttons may be greyed out (unavailable) if you haven't visited any new pages. When you use these buttons, new pages always appear in the same browser window, replacing the current contents. The Stop button simply stops a page from being loaded into the browser - think of it like a panic button!

The Refresh button forces the current page to be loaded into the browser window again (fetched). You should use this if you encountered any errors whilst the page was being fetched, e.g. graphics or images missing, garbled text etc.

The Home button immediately replaces the current page with the page designated as your home page. By default, this is currently set to the Baglan IT Centre's web site, but could be set to any page you like, for example your school's home page.

Search uses Microsoft's MSN search engine to find information and web sites. Make sure you read the section on searching before using this.

Favourites - when selected, a new pane appears in the browser window, allowing you to add the currently visited page to a list of favourite sites. This is useful when you need to create a list of sites you regularly visit. Note that on the current set up, the Favourites list may be deleted when Internet Explorer is quit! This should be rectified soon!

History - when this button is selected, a new pane appears in the browser window displaying a list of web sites or web pages you have recently visited. The history list can be kept for up to 20 days.

Print - select this when you want to print a copy of the current page. Please be aware that some WWW pages can be quite long and that many contain advertisements that you wouldn't want to print. See the section on extracting resources.

Address - every site you will visit has its own unique address (sometimes called a URL) which is displayed in the Address bar. The WWW address of the Baglan IT Centre is which means: using the HyperText Transfer Protocol (http), on the World Wide Web (www), a site called baglanit which is a non-profit making organisation (org) within the UK is being visited. Keep an eye on the address bar, as it provides clues as to where in the world the site or page you are visiting is located. Most countries (outside of the USA) have their own 2-letter country code as part of their WWW address; examples include de for Germany, ca for Canada, es for Spain, dk for Denmark, fr for France and so on.

Entering WWW Addresses

Sometimes you will find WWW (World Wide Web) addresses published in newspapers and magazines or announced on radio and television. To visit these sites, you will need to enter the address in the Address: area of the browser window. Try entering the following address to find a live video view of Cardiff Bay:

To do this, select the current address in the Address bar (it should become highlighted, usually in blue). Now type the address exactly as it appears above and press Return (or Enter) on the keyboard or click the Go button. The current site will be replaced by the new one. (You will need to select the Back button to return to the previous web page.)

Note: most WWW addresses will begin with http:// Hypertext transfer protocol). This is a standard protocol for transferring web pages to browsers. Therefore, it is possible to enter addresses without this prefix, i.e. you could have entered and the browser would automatically insert the http:// prefix. Don't forget that the new web site you visit will replace the current site in the browser window, so closing the browser window may terminate the browser program. Here are a few more addresses for you to enter:

The last of these addresses is quite long (not the longest by a long way!) and it would be possible to make any number of mis-typings, leading to error messages appearing on the browser. When you have entered an address (correctly) and found the visited site useful, add the address to the browser's Favourites list. This action adds the current site's address to a list of sites which you find useful. Selecting any address from the list immediately loads the new site into the browser window, replacing the current site.

Note: the Baglan Internet setup in schools has a number of filters in place to block access to undesirable sites. This prevents anyone from accessing a prohibited site by the direct entry of its address or by following (selecting) a link to such sites.