Lunascape – The Hybrid engine browser!!!

lunascape logoLunascape is a web browser that handles all three major web rendering engines — Firefox’s Gecko, Internet Explorer’s Trident and WebKit (which is used by Safari and Chrome). Lunascape Corp., a Tokyo-based web software company, offers the browser as a free download. The team recently released the first beta of Lunascape 6 ORION.

As a browser, Lunascape probably has the most to offer to web developers, who can use a single application to check how their work looks in three different rendering engines, namely Trident, Gecko, and WebKit. It also comes with features like script and Java blocking, and when using the Trident engine, you can block ActiveX too.

This new version adds a number of very welcome features, the most important would be that it is compatible with Firefox add-ons. You can now utilize the vast array of add-ons for Firefox in addition to IE add-ons and Lunascape plug-ins, in a single platform.

Other new features include:

  • New interface design (Orion) – sleek, simple, and easy to use
  • Split tab display – you can view a website in 3 engines side-by-side (hooray for web designers and developers!)
  • Sidebar 2.0 – The floating sidebar can handle multiple sidebar add-ons (e.g. minimap) at a time (only from beta) and can be separately displayed anywhere including another monitor.

The interface has also been given an update, but in my short period of using it, I found this by far the weakest aspect of Lunascape. It uses Qt4, but redraw performance (for instance, when resizing) is absolutely terrible, there are visual artefacts all over the place, and it doesn’t follow any of the Windows Aero UI conventions – it’s all custom.

However, the main attraction is it’s triple rendering engine, which could make the browser an invaluable tool for web developers. It’s still in beta, so things could still improve, too.

Lunascape is a Windows browser, and you can download the new beta from their website.