A web browser is a program on your computer that display web sites or web applications. Listen carefully to the video as it explains this in 1 minute.
The communication between the web application server and the web browser is done through a very powerful language : HTML.
Unfortunately, HTML has evolved a lot since it's first version and is still evolving and web browsers sometimes render the same HTML pages differently.
Moreover, this language gives a lot of possibilities to the software developers, and web applications have sometimes been developed only for a given web browser, and not tested on other web browsers. Indeed, in old times, most people were using Internet Explorer only. Later Firefox appeared and got more and more users. It was simply better and users were able to extend its features easily. Recently, Chrome was introduced and it also gained more and more users.
Moreover, web browsers have versions. For instance, Internet Explorer version 6, 7, 8 and 9 are all different and render web applications differently. Firefox 3.5, 3.6 and 4.0 also have different capabilities.
Some applications are not working with some versions of browsers. Some do not work with newer versions of browsers, such as Magnitude (SAP BFC) works well only with old versions of Internet Explorer. Some do not work with older versions of browsers, such as Google Apps that soon will work only for Internet Explorer 8 and 9, Firefox 3.6 and 4.0, Safari 4.
That is why, in Ceva, we have several browsers on our computers : Internet Explorer for legacy applications such as JD Edwards and Magnitude, Firefox or Chrome for Google Apps.
In the section "Ceva Tools" of Galaxy, one can see which are the supported browsers for each application.
From time to time, Ceva IT teams review the options (what browsers and versions work for what application) and adapt their strategy to roll out on the desktop the best combination of browsers.
As far as it is possible, when choosing a new software, we try to have software that works for all browsers. (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and eventually Apple Safari) and recent versions.
This is the case for Google Apps, Intuit Quickbase (online databases), Microstrategy Business Intelligence, Exalead search engine, Ez-Publish (Galaxy intranet, internet web sites), Ennov electronic Document Management Systems.
For technologies that are not well supported by newer browsers, we keep an old version of Internet Explorer up to the moment we will have newer versions of these technologies. It is the case for Oracle JD Edwards, SAP BFC Magnitude.