Lunascape, A Triple-Engine Internet Browser - gHacks Tech News

Lunascape, A Triple-Engine Internet Browser

When you look at the five major web browsers, that is Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari, you will notice many similarities, and less differences. Don't get me wrong, there are differences and features unique to some browsers, like Opera's Turbo feature, or different ways of handling things in the browser.

While it is quite possible for a new browser to succeed in the market by handling some of the things differently, it is the unique features that may make a bigger difference. Maxthon for instance supports two rendering engines, and excels when it comes to the HTML5 test.

Lunascape on the other hand, a browser that has been around for quite some time, ups that by integrating three browser engines into the program. The web browser supports the rendering engines of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome / Safari.

lunascape

When you first start the browser you may feel that it is a bit on the messy side of things interface wise. It starts with lots of icons in the main header, and even a news ticker that is automatically displaying headlines from sites like the New York Times, CNN or the BBC. When you look closer at the interface, you will notice that the developers have taken inspiration from a couple of browsers. The panel on the left for instance resembles that of the Opera browser, while the header itself looks more like that of the Firefox web browser.

Bookmarks, add-ons and settings can be imported at any time from web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and a handful of lesser known browsers like Maxthon or Sleipnir.

import settings

Please note that Firefox imports are only supported for versions 3 or older, and not from newer versions of the browser. The reliance on three engines opens up some interesting options. You can for instance install Firefox add-ons in the browser and use them, provided that you have set it to use the Gecko engine. The add-ons simply become unavailable when you switch to WebKit or Trident instead. Once you switch back, they are available again.

You can customize the interface of the browser, for instance by adding or removing buttons or toolbars in the browser. If you feel the menubar is missing, you can add it right away to have it displayed all the time. Virtually every button or toolbar can be moved or removed from the browser.

The browser handles several actions different from other browsers. It is for instance opening websites that you enter in the browser's address bar in a new tab automatically, leaving the active page untouched in the process. Another interesting feature are the extensive customizations that it makes available. You can for instance configure mouse actions on tabs extensively in the browser settings.

lunascape settings

The very same options are available for links, and clicks in the browser interface. Other interesting features are:

  • Automatic and manual profile backups
  • Options to switch engines automatically based on the page you are visiting
  • Ships with myriads of bookmarklets and scripts
  • Define tab behavior extensively, for instance when a new tab should be opened, when to show the tab-title bar, or if you want to display multiple rows automatically when the number of tabs exceed the space.

Check out this video for a short introduction:

Three browser engines may feel like overkill, but it makes sense after all. You have got the IE rendering engine for pages that only display properly in that browser, you got Firefox and Chrome which both provide speed and performance, with Firefox's Gecko engine even supporting the incredible add-on system of that browser. It is definitely a solid browser with some interesting features that other browsers do not offer (yet). It has a few quirks here and there, but nothing that one can't get used to after a while of working with the browser. All in all an interesting alternative to the established five.

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Comments

  1. B. Moore said on May 24, 2012 at 10:33 am
    Reply

    Way to buggy IMHO.

    Last time I tried to use it they were still working on a bug from over a year a go that keeps you from even having all 3 engines installed in Lunascape.

    You could be lucky and not experience that bug but I suggest taking a look at their GetSatisfaction page first before wasting your time trying to set Lunascape up.

    1. Yoav said on May 24, 2012 at 10:51 am
      Reply

      Looks great. I’ll try it out when they update their gecko engine, which they have promised to do soon.

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