Lunascape 5 – A Tri-Hybrid Browser

The internet is like the very end of an action movie. You know, the ones where the bomb has 15 seconds left before it kills everyone and the main character has to try to defuse it. Only when the internet is involved, your the main character and you need to check your facebook. Or your myspace. Or your email. Or Youtube. Or something. And you don’t have time to decide, so which “wire” do you choose? Perhaps Firefox or Chrome? Maybe Internet Explorer if you’re old school? Safari? The choices for browsers go on and on.

I’ve recently chosen to use a new (to me. It came out in ’07 I believe) web browser that promises a good amount of diversity. The browser is called Lunascape, and it uses what is called a “hybrid-engine system”. Like an engine provides power and functionality to a car, in the world wide web an engine is the driving force behind browsers. It’s what allows the browser to handle and display Javascript, Ajax, and all the nifty little animations and static displays that you see on websites.

So a hybrid engine then? What is that? Well, a hybrid engine means that with Lunascape you can choose what engine you want a particular tab to be powered by. Choosing the Trident engine is like popping a V6 in your Mustang. It sounds good, it looks good, but it’s going to be slower than the rest. Trident is the driving engine that powers Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, so that means that if you can’t access a website with the other engines, 99% of the time you’ll be able to access that site by hopping over to Trident.

But wait, you want a faster browser, regardless of possible faults and incompatibilities? Well my friend, give WebKit a whirl. WebKit, the powerhouse behind the fast and minimalist Chrome browser (Google’s contribution to the browser family), gives you a bit more speed. It’s like taking out that old V6 and putting in a V8 to give your mustang some more oomph. But I have run across a few functionality problems with the WebKit engine for Lunascape. The largest one is that when I tried to write this blog post, the WebKit engine wouldn’t allow me to access the GenTech blog. Everytime I tried to login it just bounced me to the login screen again. And not being able to access certain blogs and private, password-authorized areas of the internet is a problem. Luckily, I fixed this problem by switching to the third and final browser engine.

Picture that Porsche Boxster, red, that you’ve always wanted. It’s got a nice v10 in it, and its lighter than the mustang, so your going to get more speed. That’s what Gecko is like. The Gecko engine is what powers Mozilla’s FireFox browser. It’s a nice, fast engine that allows you to view websites and Javascript quickly and easily. It’s not (at least in my few days experience with it) quite as fast as Mozilla’s actual Firefox browser, but it is certainly fast enough to hold it’s own in the Great Browser War. And as far as Lunascape goes, Gecko certainly appears to be the fastest engine to me (please note these so-called “results” are merely my opinion and what I have noticed from using Lunascape. I am not referencing any scientific proof or actual results conducted by professionals).

All in all I enjoy using the Lunascape browser. It’s a very neat, very customizable browser, and its ability to allow to switch browser engines right in the middle of something is awesome. It is certainly easier than having to open a whole new browser program. I would NOT, however, suggest using Lunascape as your only browser, especially if you use the internet extensively. Lunascape has some problems, as I mentioned, that need to be ironed out before it should be used as a stand alone browser.

A few things to note about Lunascape: It comes with several very annoying (in my opinion) default settings. For instance, by default, when you type in a url into the address bar, the new site will be opened in a new tab entirely. If your not careful, as I found out, you’ll have 7-10 tabs open before you realize that your not actually changing the location of your current tab, but opening a new one entirely. You can change this setting, and any other setting you want by clicking “Tools:Lunascape Settings:Tab:Open Tab” and then unchecking “when typing a URL into the Address bar”. While you’re in the settings I would also suggest navigating to the “Session start/end” in the general tab and checking the “show lunascape before opening tabs” option. This will allow your Lunascape program to open faster.

Also, of course, be aware of the different incompatabilities the Lunascape engines can have. I have found that for the most part if you are having trouble accessing a site requiring a secure login, you can usually access the site by using a different engine if one doesn’t work. Worst case scenario, however, just use another browser if you can’t get Lunascape working.

These are just my general feelings towards the Lunascape browser. Overall I would probably give Lunascape 5 a 3.5/5, taking points off because of the hassle of having to switch engines if something doesn’t work and also some lag I’ve noticed every once in a while using the Gecko engine. Still, it’s worth checking out.

Final assessment: 3.5/5
Download here

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~ by sumdeos on July 25, 2009.

One Response to “Lunascape 5 – A Tri-Hybrid Browser”

  1. Hi,

    Just wanted to say thank you for using Lunascape and writing such a thorough review with great analogy! Insights from people like you are much needed at Lunascape and we’d really appreciate it if you could give us comments and feedback at our forum at http://en.bbs.luna.tv.

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sekiguchi
    Lunascape, Inc.

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