Lunascape Web Browser

August 20, 2009 at 11:28 am | Posted in Computers, Internet, Software | 1 Comment

Another Web Browser? Well – I mention Lunascape because it’s something different. It supports multiple rendering engines. It’s also not new. It’s been established in the Japanese market and is now in version 5.1 – the first global version.

When we choose a web browser, we’re often looking at things like look, features, customization, and security. However, the core of a web browser is it’s rendering engine. The software that figures out how to process the code of a web site and display it for you.

With the foundation of web standards, browsers have recently started to focus more on speed. Faster rendering. At the moment, the WebKit engine used by Google Chrome and Safari is the fastest. It was derived from the Konqueror browser on Linux. Some like myself are staying with Firefox and it’s Gecko engine for the customization, the extra features possible. It’s the next fastest too.

What’s different about Lunascape is that it allows you to change rendering engines. Even on different tabs. This is a little like the IE Tab Add-on in Firefox that lets you switch a page to see how it’s viewed in Internet Explorer. Only this allows you to set engines for sites, so always opens with Trident (IE’s engine), for example.

Thus, you can have Lunascape use WebKit for fast rendering, but switch to Gecko or Trident when you go to specific sites that work better with them. We all know sites that may require IE. Gecko handles JavaScript faster. (although they claim Lunascape runs JavaScript faster than any of them) WebKit handles images faster.

Lunascape supports 3 rendering engines for 4 major browsers:
Trident used by IE
Gecko used by Firefox (and Netscape, Mozilla, etc.)
WebKit used by Chrome and Safari. (and Konqueror)

It does not have Opera’s Presto engine.

Another feature of Lunascape is it’s customization. It has a high level of tweaking possible. You can make it look much like other browsers, your own style, plus their site has other skins. You can use IE Add-ons but not Firefox Add-ons. It also has it’s own Add-ons but these reveal their history – menus for these are mostly in Japanese.

Clearly this is a geeks browser. People into lots of tweaking. Web developers wanting to test in different engines (Same site, 3 tabs with 3 engines – easy). It’s lack of support for Firefox add-ons will limit it’s use for me to testing. Same issue I have with Chrome, though they suggest they will support them later.

Thanks to Ian “Gizmo” Richards for the tip.

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  1. Update: if you do a custom install, you can control the install of Webkit and Gecko engines. Just select Custom on the screen where you can also choose Portable.


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