Browser Engines

post by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2021-12-03T19:30:05.866Z · LW · GW · None comments

While there are many web browsers, they're almost all wrappers around the only three actively developed full engines. Those are:

You could also make the case for two others:

I've heard some concern that we're losing browser engine diversity as the web platform grows and it becomes harder to build and maintain something that supports it fully. While I do think the size of the web platform could have that effect, I'm not seeing it yet. Some of this is that there just haven't ever been that many competitive browser engines. In the late 90s, we had three (powering Netscape, IE, and Opera) and then four (KHTML) in the early 2000s. In 2003 Safari (WebKit) forked from KHTML, making five. For three months in 2013 we had six, between Chrome forking WebKit to make Blink (April) and Opera discontinuing Presto for Blink (July). In 2016 KHTML development fell off, with consumers switching to first WebKit and then Blink, bringing us down to four. In 2020 Edge switched from their own engine to Blink, bringing us down to three. And now with Flow we'll probably be back to four soon.

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