Web developers know the importance of testing web sites and blogs on the different web browsers available. A site/blog can look great on one browser, but if you try to access it on another one, it can probably look garbled. It’s a hassle checking a web site/blog on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc. What if a browser combined the three main browser types, which removed the need to open up three separate browsers? There is one – Lunascape.
Lunascape is the first multilingual, triple engine browser developed in Japan. It combines the four main web browsers – Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, and Safari. This mean that it supports the three layout engines, or rendering engines, that are used to create the four browsers listed above: Trident (Internet Explorer), Gecko (FireFox), and WebKit (Chrome/Safari). Currently, it only works on Windows.
One thing that I really liked about the browser is how customizable it is. When installing it, I am able to choose the default layout engine, or rendering engine that I want to use.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t quickly change to the other engines. In the lower-left hand corner, there is a globe icon that allows me to change the browser for that web page I am viewing.
You can even associate a web page with a specific layout engine, even if it’s not the default. This is especially useful when you need to test a web site/blog on various browsers.
You can even use Lunascape as a portable browser instead of having it installed on your system.
Lunascape allows you to import bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and various others. I found it a little strange that it didn’t allow you to import bookmarks from Safari or Chrome, since Webkit is one of the inbuilt layout engines.
Lunascape comes preset with four different skins – Default, Cool, Silver, and Simple. They are equivalent to the four browsers that Lunascape has. If you don’t like any of those, you can change the web skin to the 190 different web skins that were created by users. Users can also create their own skin and upload it into the skin library that Lunascape has online. There are some great skins in the library, so don’t forget to check it out.
The plugin library is not as vast. There is only one plugin available: Twitter plugin. This allows you to have the Twitter tool in the Lunascape browser. There should be more plugins available, or allow users to use the plugins from the other browsers. Looking in the Lunascape forum, it seems that users will have the capability of using Internet Explorer and FireFox plugins in Lunascape in the next release (currently in beta). Additionally, users are also able to register add-ons that they created for the browser.
Lunascape has a great built-in RSS Reader that allows you to add a single RSS feed or import an OPML file.
There is also a RSS Ticker that scrolls at the top of the browser with your RSS feeds.
It doesn’t seem that the RSS Reader and the RSS Ticker are associated with one another, which is a bad flaw. The best way to handle this is to allow you to pick and choose which feeds in your RSS Reader you want to be in the RSS Ticker. This will eliminate the redundancy of having to add an RSS feed to two different places, and not be overwhelmed with too many items scrolling at the top of the browser. A good thing is, the RSS settings are easily customizable and allows for the ease of subscribing to RSS podcasts.
In Lunscape, you are able to search different search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Ask, Technorati, Ebay, and Amazon. This is great because you don’t need to have more than one toolbar to search the different search engines.
Lunascape has various bookmarklet that have been taken from the three layout engines that you are able to use and customize to the way you want. They are sectioned off by Trident, Gecko, and Webkit, so you know where the bookmarklet came from. It gives you the capability of customizing the browser even more than you already can.
Overall, I have to say that Lunascape is a browser that web developers should use. There are a couple of issues with the browser, but nothing that takes away its customizability and usefulness.