Monday, August 29, 2011

Web browsers and engines

When programming Web, we need consider cross browsers to make sure the HTML/CSS/Javascript codes work well in different Web browsers. As of today, the most popular web browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

Web browser has an engine to take marked up content (such as HTML, XML, image files, etc.) and formatting information (such as CSS, XSL, etc.) and displays the formatted content on the screen. (for data and view) This engine is also called sometimes called layout engine or rendering engine.

  1. Internet Explorer 9 uses Trident
  2. Firefox uses Gecko
  3. Chrome uses WebKit
  4. Safari uses WebKit
  5. Opera uses Presto

Apart from layout engine, Web browser also needs a javascript engine to execute javascript (for actions).  Most new javascript engines have JIT compiler for better performance (See SunSpider for benchmark data)

  1. Chakra: A new IE JScript engine used in Internet Explorer 9. It was first previewed at MIX 10 as part of the Internet Explorer Platform Preview.
  2. SpiderMonkey: A JavaScript engine in Mozilla Gecko applications, including Firefox. The engine has two types of JIT compilers, that are sometimes referred to as J├ĄgerMonkey or TraceMonkey.
  3. V8: A JavaScript engine used in Google Chrome.
  4. SquirrelFish: The JavaScript engine for Apple Inc.'s WebKit. Also known as Nitro.(JavascriptCore)
  5. Carakan: A JavaScript engine developed by Opera Software ASA, included in the 10.50 release of the Opera web browser.

In my mind, new Web browsers are getting faster, and Web development is more focusing on framework, pattern and productivity. We are moving to HTML5, Javascript (latest version 1.8.5) and CSS3, and expecting to see less difference across these browsers. A new Web era is coming.

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