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Major rumblings in the browser world

By Jon Jensen · Monday, September 1, 2008

Tags: browsers

Wow. There's a lot going on in the browser world again all of a sudden.

I recently came across a new open source browser, Midori, still in alpha status. It's based on Apple's WebKit (used in Safari) and is very fast. Surprisingly fast. Of course, it's not done, and it shows. It crashes, many features aren't yet implemented, etc. But it's promising and worth keeping an eye on. It's nice to have another KHTML/WebKit-based browser on free operating systems, too.

Now today news has come out about Google's foray into the browser area, with a browser also based on WebKit called Chrome. It'll be open source, include a new fast JavaScript engine, and feature compartmentalized JavaScript for each page, so memory and processor usage will be easy to monitor per application, and individual pages can be killed without bringing the whole browser down. Code's supposed to become available tomorrow.

A new generation of JavaScript engine for Mozilla is now in testing, called TraceMonkey. It has a just-in-time (JIT) compiler, and looks like it makes many complex JavaScript sites very fast. It sounds like this will appear formally in Firefox 3.1. Information on how to test it now is at John Resig's blog.

And finally, Microsoft is adding a new "InPrivate" browsing mode to Internet Explorer 8, which now has a public beta. Unlike all of the above, it will ... not be open source. :)

Nice to see so much movement.