The World Wide Web and Internet Explorer are probably the most commonly used network applications. An easy way to understand a Web browser is to compare it to a television remote control. A remote control gives the ability directly control a TV's functions: volume, channels, brightness, etc. For the remote control to function properly, people do not need to understand how the remote control functions electronically. The same is true of a Web browser, in that the browser gives people the ability to navigate through the Web by clicking on hyperlinks. For the Web browser to function properly, it is not necessary to understand how the lower layer OSI protocols work and interact.
Within a LAN environment, indirect-application network support is a client-server function. If a client wants to save a file from a word processor to a network server, the redirector enables the word processing application to become a network client.
Redirector is a protocol that works with computer operating systems and network clients instead of specific application programs. Examples of redirectors are Apple File Protocol, NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI), Novell IPX/SPX protocols, Network File System (NFS) of the TCP/IP protocol suite.
The redirector process is as follows:
If the client requests that the network print server allow the data file to be printed by a remote (network) printer, the server processes the request by printing the file on one of its print devices, or by rejecting the request. Redirector allows a network administrator to assign remote resources to logical names on the local client. When he selects one of these logical names to perform an operation such as saving a file, or printing a file, the network redirector sends the selected file to the proper remote resource on the network for processing. If the resource is on a local computer, the redirector ignores the request and allows the local operating system to process the request. The advantage of using a network redirector on a local client is that the applications on the client never have to recognize the network. In addition, the application that requests service is located on the local computer and the redirector reroutes the request to the proper network resource, while the application treats it as a local request. Redirectors expand the capabilities of non-network software. They also allow users to share documents, templates, databases, printers, and many other resource types, without having to use special application software.
Networking has had a great influence on the development of programs like word processors, spreadsheets, presentation managers, database programs, graphics, and productivity software. Many of these software packages are now network-integrated. They have the capabilities of launching integrated Web browsers or Internet tools, and to publish their output to HTML for easy Web integration.
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