When you are learning to write html another component that is required as well as a text editor or WYSIWYG is a browser so that you can test your work and you don’t even have to be connected to the internet to test your web pages/documents in the browser all testing can be performed off–line.
This means that you can learn to write html and create web pages/documents anywhere, especially if you own a laptop you could be sat on top of a mountain or in the middle on nowhere and you can view your handy work in a browser without a network connection.
The actual brand and version of the browser that you use is entirely up to yourself or you can use whatever is installed on your PC as the default browser I would recommend that you use the browser that you are already familiar with and feel comfortable using if you are just starting out you can experiment with other browser later.
Bear in mind that all the syntax that I have used on this site uses the W3C DOM, therefore it makes sense to use the most recent version of the browser, any of the browsers listed below will work fine.

The acronym DOM means Document Object Model, the DOM is a standardised process for accessing  parts of a web page through a common application interface "API".
In plain terms what this means is that each of the elements in an html document are treated as objects and as such they are accessible through scripts usually JavaScripts.

You can find more information regarding the W3C DOM here at the W3Schools logo web site.

It is a good idea to install each of most popular browsers on your PC then you will be able to test your web pages/documents in each browser to see if they are rendered consistently in the manner you intended.
Browser compatibility has beeen an issue for authors since the earliest days of the web due to incompatability and the lack of support of standards in the different browsers.
Today support of standards is a lot more consistent in the latest versions of browsers, unfortunately some browsers go much further in their support than others.
Although fair amount of authoring common ground does exists between the latest versions of browsers today, inconsistent implementation of new features still causes great problems for authors wishing to deploy on all browsers.
By installing a copy of the popular browsers you can then experiment and try to actually define some common denominators for authoring web pages/documents for the broadest range of browsers as possible.

Internet Explorer: Screenshot of the Internet Explorer browser Mozilla FireFox: Screenshot of the Mozilla Firefox browser
Opera: Screenshot of the Opera browser Netscape Navigator: Screenshot of the Netscape Navigator browser
Apple Safari: Screenshot of the Mac Safari browser
Browser Links:
Internet Explorer logo Internet Explorer
Mozilla Firefox logo Mozilla Firefox
Opera logo Opera
Netscape logo
Netscape Navigator
Safari logoApple Safari

You can download a copy of each of the most popular browsers using the links above and install them on your PC if you have not already done so.
Once you have installed the browsers it is a good idea to make regular checks and make sure that you have the latest version of each of the browsers installed on your PC.
It is very easy to check for updates or newer versions of a browser, with Internet Explorer new versions are usually delivered via the Windows Update Service as security updates for the operating system.
For the other browsers such as Opera, Mozilla Firefox and Netscape Naviagtor (no longer supported) you can easily check for updates and newer versions of the browser via the Help menu they all contain a menu item marked Check For Updates which makes the job very easy.

Light bulb icon With regards to installing more than one browser on your PC remember that
"only one browser can be the default browser" on a PC, so to avoid conflicts as you install each new browser just leave the little check box empty that makes the browser the default browser on the PC.

Having the ability to test you web pages/documents in different browsers is very useful, and it allows you to see how your web page/document is rendered and each browsers level of support for web standards plus the various tools that are built into each of the browsers.

At the moment Internet Explorer (IE7) has a very limited set of tools built into the browser just a Java console and a console for reporting JavaScript errors and there is a separate script debugger which is great for debugging JavaScripts and gives you good control and allows you to step through the script and set break points in your scripts to help you debug them you can download a copy here.
Although this is about to change the next version of Internet Explorer (IE8) the JavaScript debugger will be built into the browser along with a bunch of other useful tools that allow you to inspect the documents DOM and CSS as well as allowing you to edit the code.
The beta version of IE8 is now available you can find more information about it here and download a copy.

The Opera browser has some very useful features that allow you to change the way the web page/document is rendered by the browser for example you can switch off all the styles and stylesheets or check what text has been entered in the alt attributes of all the images or display and highlight the id’s and or class’s that have been applied to elements in the web page/document.
Another great feature of the Opera browser is that it can render a web page/document as thought it was rendered in a text–mode browser such as the Lynx browser which is very useful for checking how accessible your web pages/documents really are.
Opera also provide a couple of great developer tools the Developer Console which is a JavaScript and DOM inspector, and a CSS editor and HTTP header inspector and the DOM Snapshot tool allows you to view the source code of a web page/document as parsed by the browser, you can find more information about both of the tools here and the new set of developer tools here dragonfly.

The Mozilla browser only has a couple of feaures and tools built into the browser that allow you to switch off styles and stylesheets or images and render web pages/documents without styles or images and the only tool is a DOM inspector, although you can download tools here at the Mozilla developer centre where there is also lots of useful information about the browser and web development.
You can also download useful add–ons for web development for the browser here Firefox add–ons

Development of the Netscape Navigator browser has now ended and support for the browser ended on March 1st 2008 you can find more information about this here and here on the Netscape Blog about the history of the browser and the end of support for Netscape brand of browsers.
The Netscape browser is still available from the Netscape Archive which you can access via the link in the list of browser links above next to the screen shot of the Apple Safari browser, all of the browsers in the Archive are provided on an as is basis and no official support is provided for these versions.
It is possible to find unofficial support here UFAQ or here at the Netscape Community Forum.
Existing users of Navigator are encouraged to adopt either Mozilla Firefox or the Flock browser.

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