Web Browser Wednesday

Mozilla has definitely made a name for themselves with Firefox, and have done such a great job of developing the browser that other people want to create their own browsers based on Firefox. To create their own browsers…they use Gecko, Firefox’s rendering engine as the core of the browsers that they create.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a rendering engine is I’ll try to explain that real quick. It is basically the aspect of the browser that takes the HTML code from a website and turns it into something that is organized the way that the developer intended it to look. It’s safe to say that it is the core of the browser, and since Firefox has gained a lot of popularity, other browsers can safely use Gecko knowing that most websites will look and function as they were intended. Similarly, the name of the Internet Explorer rendering engine is called Trident, (which even Google Talk uses to render the content of chat windows) and Opera’s is called Presto.

Today we’re taking a look at 6 other browsers, some you’ve probably heard of while others you haven’t, that use the Gecko rendering engine:

Wyzo (Homepage)

Wyzo is the Web browser offered by the same people who create the FireTorrent extension that we recently reviewed. You would think that it would come with the extension already integrated into the browser, but instead you have to download the extension separately. It also has a custom start page which can be found here.

Both the FireTorrent extension and the start page can be used in Firefox, so the only thing that sets it apart is the skin. It is probably one of the best Firefox skins that I have seen, and is the only thing that isn’t offered to current Firefox users.

Click to Enlarge

uBrowser (Homepage)

uBrowser is unique in the sense that it isn’t meant to be a dedicated browser that you use everyday. Instead, it was made as a way to implement the Gecko rendering engine into the popular 3D virtual world called Second Life.

Once you startup uBrowser, your first impression will probably be poor because of the simplistic interface, but the real goldmine is playing around with the settings in the right-sidebar. That’s where you’ll be able to transform the websites you visit into something that can be manipulated. The images speak for themselves:

uBrowser uBrowser
Click to Enlarge

There is no installation necessary to try out uBrowser, just download the Windows ZIP file (the first file on the page), extract the contents, and run the uBrowser executable file.

XeroBank (Homepage)

You may not recognize this browser right away by its name, but that’s probably because they had to change their name. Previously XeroBank was called TorPark, and despite the name change, it still offers all of the same features that we previously pointed out.

This browser is completely portable and doesn’t require any installation, but it is essentially just a version of Firefox that comes with a bunch of extensions pre-installed. Nevertheless, it is a great tool for those of you who are concerned with privacy.

Click to Enlarge

Flock (Homepage)

I’m not going to say much about Flock because I recently wrote a heavy review on the next upcoming version that is due out in a few weeks. To sum it up in one sentence: Flock is a browser that is well integrated with social networks like, Flickr, and MySpace.

Click to Enlarge

Maxthon (Homepage)

I always knew Maxthon as being the browser that works off of Internet Explorer. Little did I know that there is actually an option in the File Menu that you can enable for all new tabs to use the Gecko rendering engine. I tried it out and it worked like a charm.

The disappointing news is that the new Maxthon 2 that should be available soon (currently on Release Candidate 3) doesn’t have this feature because they don’t have anyone on the team that is handy with the Gecko rendering engine. I’m sure a lot of people would love to see this implemented later on, but it’s definitely not going to be ready at launch.

Click to Enlarge

K-Meleon (Homepage)

Now this is one cool browser! It is among the slimmest that I have mentioned here, and after running it for just a few minutes it reminded me of the early Firefox days. I had a hard time getting the memory usage to break the 40MB mark, and that was with almost 10 tabs open!

Besides that, it has the standard tabbed browsing (although they don’t call them tabs, instead they’re layers), mouse gestures, and a popup blocker. Oh, and you can use the Internet Explorer or Opera bookmarking systems in place of, or in addition to the Mozilla bookmarking system that it incorporates.

If you’re missing the old days of Firefox, I highly suggest that you try this browser out!

Click to Enlarge