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Summary:

We’ve written widely about the rejuvenated browser wars, with lots of innovation coming from the new Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome. There is another browser that has recently been released in a new version 5.1: Lunascape. The new version is this browser’s first release optimized for […]

We’ve written widely about the rejuvenated browser wars, with lots of innovation coming from the new Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome. There is another browser that has recently been released in a new version 5.1: Lunascape. The new version is this browser’s first release optimized for English-speaking users (it’s from a Japanese company; I covered the alpha here).

The interesting thing about this browser is that it includes the three rendering engines that are found in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari/Chrome. There are a few reasons why this browser may be worth adding to your arsenal, even if you don’t use it as your default.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Lunascape asks you whether you want its default rendering engine to be Trident (found in Internet Explorer), Gecko (the same version found in Firefox 3.5) or WebKit (found in Safari and Chrome). You can either manually set Lunascape to use a particular rendering engine, or you can have it select one to use on the fly for optimized performance. Lunascape officials claim that the JavaScript performance in their browser is actually faster than in Firefox 3.5. If it is, the difference is minimal, but there are a few other reasons why this browser is worth having on hand.

If you regularly use multiple browsers, as I do, you’re probably familiar with the fact that many pages render differently on different browsers. There are also certain kinds of live-streamed events, such as webcasts, that look very different depending on the rendering engine in your browser. Lunascape can level the playing field, and let you quickly get to the properly rendered version of a page at which you’re looking.

Lunascape is also used by some web developers and designers who want to rifle through the popular rendering engines on the fly as they create things, to see how they look and to monitor any errors. I suspect most readers won’t use Lunascape as their primary browser, but it’s worth having on hand when you want to switch rendering engines without jumping in and out of browsers.

Have you tried Lunascape? Let us know your thoughts on this new browser in the comments.

  1. “…it combines the rendering engines from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari/Chrome — which are all based on the WebKit engine.”

    No. Wrong.

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  2. @ac — thanks for the catch. That sentence was supposed to say that the three different rendering engines are included, not combined. (And this is specified in the paragraph below that.) Fixed now.

    Sam

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