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How Browser Engine affects your choice of search engine

Why Browser engine has a great impact on our web browsers

Microsoft is rebuilding Edge from the ground up using the chromium code that also underpins Google Chrome. Most importantly, it is a switch to a different browser rendering engine. The question is, what exactly is such a rendering engine? And how can it make any change in our browsing experience? Obviously, that seems to be what Microsoft wants us to know in this post.

When accessing the internet, the web browser you choose means you choose the browser engine and a rendering engine. Sometimes, the two terms are used separately and sometimes to mean the same thing. Practically, the rendering engine renders the pages and the browser engine handles the communications between the rendering engine and the browser user interface.

As earlier stated, it is not everyone that can always detect the difference. There is also, a JavaScript engine in each case to help process website code, but for clarity sake, let us follow Wikipedia’s lead and just use browsing engine as an all-encompassing term.

The browser engine, rendering engine, and JavaScript engine are all uniquely working together to get raw web code into a viewable and usable from inside the browser in your electronic device. When it comes to such service, there are major known browsers globally; the chrome, explorer, safari, opera, Mozilla, etc.

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However, in terms of rendering engines, there three main engines to consider: Webkit (powering Safari browser), Gecko (powering Firefox Mozilla browser), and Blink (powering Chrome, Opera, Brave, & many others).

Though the report source is not covering it in details, Chromium should not get you confused. It is just like a step between Blink and the full Google Chrome (or the new Microsoft edge), it is a barebone, open source browser, which others can build on top of.

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WEB BROWSERS- Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera mini
comparing the browsing engine powering WEB BROWSERS- Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera Mini, etc.

WHAT BROWSER ENGINE MEANS

Since you have known the names of the three major browser engines, so what exactly are they? What is their function? The answer is very simple. Their job is to take the CSS, HTML and other code of a webpage like the text you can see in the page source or open in a text editor, setting out layouts, page content, and styling and convert it into what you actually see on screen.

Ideally, the engine is like a translator, turning the raw code that you cannot understand into a comprehensive layout page of text and graphics that you can read. The browser engine makes choices about how to interpret what a web developer has typed, how particular lines of code affect what is on screen.

In fact, you can consider the browser engine to be the most important part of the browser, just like a car engine is the most important unit of any car. Everything else like the menus, extensions, smart rendering, and autofill are beautiful redundant if someone cannot see the sites he/she is visiting properly.

Since the browser engines are working perfectly, why do we need different ones? The answer is simple, to meet up the demand of different programmers. Different programmers have different ideas about how best to do the job of a browser engine- displaying colors, optimizing codes, refreshing pages, and many others.

Assuming you want to introduce a new and improved way for web developers to show videos embedded inside text on a webpage, you will need support from a browser engine, if you do not get it and a lot of other engineers agree with you, you might consider creating your own browser engine, which usually how browsing got where it is today. However, there is no huge change of a new browser engine ever getting off the ground in the future as predicted by Microsoft.

The main reason that webpages sometimes appear, load and work differently in different browsers is the browser engines. It is more likely the variations between Gecko, Webkit, and Blink than the variations between Firefox, Safari, and Chrome that are behind the differences.

Meanwhile, as the internet world grows, the variations are becoming small on the surface visuals (which are pretty much the same across the board) and more about the underlying technologies.

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HOW THE BROWSER ENGINES DIFFER

Every part of a page’s rendering and the way user interactions are handled is carried out by the browser engine, and while each of the engines do a lot of processing in the same way, there are some differences too. Take the way the security of web apps is handled, this is something that each browser engine can approach differently.

Since the web world is increasing having more websites and apps on it, the whole system is becoming more complex and the browser engines have to handle more codes. Besides, webpages are no longer static as they were when browsers were first invented. Another way of stressing the browser engine is how the dynamic codes get processed and optimized to get the current dynamic website pages and that has an impact on how fast a page appears- here is where the JavaScript engine plays a big role.

‘Quantum’ is a current Firefox upgrade to Gecko, according to the firefox engineers, they are currently on the project. It focuses on a lot of these new considerations for modern websites. It includes; how web apps get refreshed, how the browser handles memory and CPU core time, and how it responds to system crashes.

The questions of whether a browser engine will support older web standard and potentially lose milliseconds checking them- which is why Microsoft built Edge1.0 in the first place, Whether it should render text first and then load images, and How it should handle multiple processes in multiple tabs. Are what will differentiate the browser engines of today and in the future.

For instance, what will differentiate modern browser engines are these high-level questions and the fewer intricacies of web fonts and embedded audio, etc. they can handle easily. Based on the existing web standards, browser engines also need to support new standards as the internet gets ever-more complex. This is another area where blink possibly has an advantage. With Google building so many cutting-edge web apps, it is in a better position to push for the standards they use.

Other issues also exist especially the ones that only matter to developers, such include: how faster a code can be added and approved, the procedures for fixing bugs, how closely the browser engine is tied to the actual browser since the end users would not notice these unless they are counting the frequency of update patches, but they are important to mention as well.

BEST BROWSER ENGINE

When considering whether to stick with your current browser engine or to switch to another, you need to know that on the level, there is no huge difference between them at the moment. Chrome using Blink, Firefox uses Gecko, and Safari using Webkit, all deliver most websites in very similar ways at very similar speeds. The reason is that they all largely accept similar basic web standards- something which is not always the case. There is no headline feature we can point out that would necessarily make you suddenly leave Webkit and switch to Gecko or vice versa.

On a particular level, blink seems to be the best. It is speedy at rendering pages and apps, updates are pushed out rapidly, it is relatively robust, and bugs tend to be patched quickly. Perhaps that could be the reason Microsoft switched to it, after all.

Based on Microsoft’s viewpoint, Blink appears to be the easiest to build a new browser on top of and it works best when embedded in desktop apps. At the same time, it continues to hog memory on some occasions and has grown more bloated over the years.

With the Quantum upgrade for Gecko, serious speed improvements are being handled by the Firebox engineers in a continuous effort to impress its users.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Webkit seems to have its detractors, while Safari is still getting better on macOS and iOS –mainly due to features built on top of the browser engine and more.

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Based on the statistics, the differences in these browser engines have no significant impact on the end users, so there would not be any need to switch your browser based on it. In other words, you can carry on by using the browser you prefer.

Originally posted 2019-04-15 11:35:52.

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