Your a-z booklet to web browsers and their engines

Nwachukwu Glory Last updated: September 13, 2022 Read time: 19 minutes Disclosure

This detailed guide will clear all your confusion around web browsers and the engines powering them. Dive in to discover that really matters.

Sneak peek at web browser engines

A plethora of browsers are now available, including the popular Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari, with a similar purpose of granting access to the online world. Yet, they all appear differently because of the engines that empower a specific browser. A web browser engine creates a user interface, by interpreting specific codes of the website, and a web browser rendering engine responsible for the visual look and feel of web pages. These together work to create variations among the browsers. How do they do that? Let’s dig out in this guide.

Web browsers are the most commonly used applications on PCs, Mobile, and tablet. But most people do not know about the engines that power them. Most people swap from one web browser to another, though, what happens when you do that?

When you switch from one browser to another, you’re also changing the browser engine alongside a rendering engine. Web browser rendering engine and the browser engines carry out two distinctive operations.

The Web browser engine manages communication between the user interface. In contrast, the web browser rendering engine is responsible for displaying/rendering web pages.

However, there is another player in the mix, which is the dynamic JavaScript engine. JavaScript engine assists the web browser engine alongside the browser rendering engine to get the raw code from web pages and converts it into a viewable form.

Did you know that the most significant factor determining the success of a web browser is the engine that powers it? Browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox have sophisticated engines.

Others are trying to catch up by rewriting their codes or adopting other engines to make them more efficient. In this guide, we would talk about what a web browser engine is and how it affects your browsing experience.

What is a web browser engine?

Learning about the internal operation of web browser engines can enlighten you on how engines work. This knowledge can help you make a better decision on a browser to use.

It would also help developers learn about the justification of adopting best practices for browser development. This is a quality document to read, and we are confident you would be glad after digging in

The engines that power web browsers are the heart of the browser. Meaning, the browser cannot function without the engine. The contents that are displayed after you type in a URL are made possible by the browser engine.

It carries out its operations by understanding the CSS, HTML, and JavaScript codes on the requested webpage. Web browser engines are unique in their design to carry out their operations in a simplified manner. Every browser has its ways of interpreting web pages because of its engine.

You must not confuse a browser engine with a rendering engine. Two major components, including the rendering engine and JavaScript Engine, make up the browser engine. These two components help present a URL in a graphical presentation after interpreting the HTML, CSS, XML, etc.

The major browsers around the world

There are five major browsers used on desktop devices in the world today. Those include Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. When it comes to the most widely used mobile browsers, we have Apple Safari, Chrome for Android, Opera Mobile, Opera Mini, UC Browser, and Nokia S40/S60 web browsers.

Some of the browsers above are open-source others are not.

For example, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome make up about 75% of the global web browser usage. While Apple Safari, Android Browser, and Chrome make up about 50% of the worldwide use on mobile devices. Only Mozilla Firefox out of these all is open-source; hence it’s regarded as the most secure browser among all that are mentioned.

Browsers functionality

Web browsers functionality
(Unsplash)

Having a clear understanding of browser functionality would significantly help in understanding how the browser engine works.

The primary functionality of a web browser is to present the web resources you choose. It requests your URL resources from the server and displays it on the browser window for your view.