Resources The Browsers

This gives an overview of browsers past and present.

This page covers:  Access NetFront,  AOL,  AOL Compuserve,  AOL Desktop,  AOL Explorer,  AOL Netscape,  AOL OpenRide,  AOL TV,  Apple Safari,  Bitstream Bolt,  Brave,  DoCoMo iMode,  Dolphin,  Google Chrome,  HotJava,  IBM Home Page Reader,  IBM Web Browsers,  iCab,  Konqueror,  Lynx,  Microsoft Edge,  Microsoft Internet Explorer,  Microsoft MSN Explorer,  Microsoft MSN-TV Viewer,  Mosaic,  Mozilla & Friends (Firefox, SeaMonkey, etc.),  Nokia,  OmniWeb,  Opera,  Pale Moon,  RockMelt,  Samsung Internet,  Skyfire,  Vivaldi,  W3C Amaya,  Web/Epiphany,  Yahoo Axis,  Yandex Browser.

NB​: because this site focuses on browsers needed to test websites, it rarely covers browsers that are little used or that use standard engines from more common browsers.

NB​: you may also wish to refer to Wikipedia’s list of web browsers.

Access NetFront Access NetFront

Access offers a mobile web browser, NetFront, which appears in mobile devices such as cellphones and the Amazon Kindle. Access provides some resources for website designers.


This discusses the AOL browser suite for AOL subscribers. Other AOL browsers and browser suites are listed in the sidebar, with links to details.


Note: AOL doesn’t update the version vector when it makes se­cu­ri­ty updates.

AOL’s Future

AOL was originally an ISP and offered its flagship IE-based browsers only to its clients. But AOL seems to often try to reïnvent itself, and in the process has produced a bewildering range of browsers and browser suites, using a number of different browser engines.

AOL’s flagship browsers have always used IE (except for one MacOS version which used Gecko), but its other browsers — Compuserve, Desktop for Mac, Explorer, Netscape, etc. — have used various versions of AppleWebKit, Gecko, and Safari: one, Netscape 8, used both Gecko and IE.

AOL has also abandoned several of its browsers, e.g. Compuserve and OpenRide. Right now (Apr 2008) AOL appears to be pushing different browser suites in different areas, e.g. AOL Desktop 10 for Windows in the U.S.A., and AOL 10VR (a very different product) in Canada.

One can only assume that an ever changing kaleidoscope of browsers will appear in the future.

Designing for AOL

See AOL’s Webmaster Info site to learn how to craft web pages for AOL browsers.

Note that the AOL browsers use browser engines created by others: sometimes Trident (the Internet Explorer engine), sometimes Gecko (the Mozilla engine), and sometimes AppleWebKit (the Safari KHTML engine).

Caution About Updates

AOL often updates its browsers without telling news services, so the version vector of the latest version may be off.

AOL often offers different versions to different countries, with the U.S. getting the latest version; other countries may never get the latest version.

AOL-Compuserve AOL-Compuserve

AOL acquired Compuserve years ago, and offered this browser for its subscribers. Versions up to 6 use Internet Explorer as its browser engine; later versions use Gecko.

AOL killed the Compuserve service in Jun 2009.



The Compuserve browsers haven’t been updated for a very long time, and use browser engines which are now extinct, so no one should be using a Compuserve browser. When tested in Nov 2007, the Compuserve home page wouldn’t work with Firefox, but it would work with IE, so it would seem that an IE-based browser would be best for those who choose the Compuserve service.

AOL AOL Desktop

There are two completely different products with this name: AOL Desktop (for Windows), and AOL Desktop (for Mac).

AOL Desktop

AOL Desktop for Windows is a browser suite for Windows, using Internet Explorer. It was once named Helix, and may be considered a replacement for the defunct OpenRide.

Uses Internet Explorer Browser Engine AOL Desktop 10: this was released Dec 6, 2007 as AOL Desktop 2.0, then silently renamed sometime later to AOL Desktop 10 [get it. Note that there was no version 1.0; this suggests that OpenRide is deemed version 1.

AOL Desktop for Mac

AOL Desktop for Mac MacOS is a browser suite for MacOS, apparently using Apple’s AppleWebKit.

Uses Webkit Browser Engine AOL Desktop for Mac 1.0: this was released May 5, 2008 after the release of numerous betas; 1.5 appeared Dec 15, 2008; 1.7 appeared in Nov 2010. [get it

AOL Explorer AOL Explorer

This was a free browser for Windows, based on Internet Explorer.




AOL-Netscape AOL-Netscape

AOL acquired Netscape several years ago [get it.


Netscape is now extinct, with no updates after Mar 1, 2008. [details.



AOL OpenRide AOL-OpenRide

AOL OpenRide: this was a browser suite for Windows.

Uses Internet Explorer Browser Engine OpenRide 1.x: this was released Oct 4 2006, and was silently updated several times before being quietly killed by AOL in mid 2007. It is no longer available.


In Jun 2000 AOL announced AOL-TV, a TV-based Internet appliance designed to compete with MSN-TV. It was a limited HTML 3.2 browser with simple JavaScript support. It was discontinued in Feb 2003 [details.

Apple Apple Safari

Safari uses Apple’s WebKit, which is based in part on Konqueror’s KHTML browser engine. Originally for MacOS, Safari now runs on other platforms, including the iPhone. [get it

Apple reportedly chose to base Safari on KHTML instead of Gecko because a KHTML was faster, b KHTML’s source code was smaller and cleaner, and c Apple did not need Gecko’s multi-platform support.

Version Vectors

Apple uses 3 sets of version vectors for Safari:

Apple updates the Safari version vector only with major updates. Apple usually (but not always) updates the Safari build number when it fixes bugs, and sometimes (but not always) updates the WebKit build number when it fixes bugs. Apple used to have a page listing how the various version vectors related to each other, but a brainless idiot at Apple removed the page: it is therefore very difficult now to determine the Safari version vector by examining the userAgent string; the major WebKit versions are reported by Wikipedia, but it is not known how up to date and how authoritative this is; a simplied list of WebKit and Safari versions is also available, on this site.

DOCTYPEs and Safari

Safari renders pages differently for different DOCTYPEs [more.



Bitstream Bolt Bitstream Bolt

Bitstream offers this mobile web browser for cellphones. [more.


Brave Brave

Uses Webkit Browser EngineBrave offers a browser for desktops and cellphones, using Chrome’s WebKit browser engine. [more.

Brave uses the currently installed version of the Chrome browser. Brave 1.0 appeared on Nov 13, 2019.

DoCoMo iMode DoCoMo iMode

DoCoMo offers a mobile web browser in cellphones, primarily in Australia, Japan, and parts of Europe.

Dolphin Dolphin

Uses Webkit Browser Engine Dolphin is a mobile web browser based on Apple’s WebKit.

Google Chrome Google Chrome

Google makes the Chrome browser [get it.

Uses Webkit Browser Engine Chrome is available as a “final version”, and as betas and developer previews: its betas are akin to betas or late alphas of other software; and its developer previews are akin to alphas or early alphas. Chrome is available for Android, Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

Chrome uses a modified version of the WebKit-based KHTML engine that Safari uses, with a different JavaScript interpreter. Beginning with Chrome 28, it will use a variant of the WebKit engine called ‘Blink’, which will diverge over time from the variant of the WebKit engine used by Apple.

Chrome has a minimalist user interface, and offers few user options. For example, it offers no option to disable JavaScript, to select alternate stylesheets, or to select the default CSS fonts. And, as best as this author can determine, there are no built-in pages of advanced options similar to Firefox’s about:config page or Opera’s opera:config page.

Chrome automatically updates itself with minor updates: the user can’t block or delay updates. This makes testing sites harder, because the browser could be updated at any time, even in the middle of testing a site. This also makes it impossible to retain old versions of Chrome for comparison testing.


“about” Pages

Chrome has a set of built-in pages whose names begin with about:. Some of these built-in pages are listed by the page named about:about.



HotJava HotJava

HotJava was made by Sun Systems.

The last version, HotJava 3, was released in May 1999. It was never updated, and in April 2003 it was relegated to Sun’s archives.

NB​: Sun also offers Java software for users and designers [more.

IBM Web Browsers IBM Browsers

IBM used to offer two browsers:

iCab iCab

Alexander Clauss makes two browsers:

iCab likely will never be widely used, as it competes with other highly standards compliant browsers made by organizations with much greater resources.

NB​: iCab 1–3 use a proprietary browser engine; iCab 4 and above use Apple’s WebKit.



KDE’s Konqueror Konqueror

Uses KHTML Browser Engine Konqueror is a browser included in the open source KDE Desktop Environment for Unix and Linux systems. It is an HTML 4 browser that aspires to be fast and standards-compliant. It uses KDE’s KHTML browser engine.

Another major desktop environment for Unix and Linux systems is GNOME, for which Gecko-based browsers are available.



Lynx Lynx

Lynx is the most popular text-only browser [get it.

Lynx is updated at very rare intervals.

NB​: it may be impossible to find the latest version for your O/S, since the Lynx developers don’t consistently make it available for the common operating systems. You may have to settle for a version that is a beta, or is old, or is in a foreign language.

NB​: one way to help testing pages for Lynx compatibility is to use the free Lynx Viewer.



Microsoft Edge

Microsoft has made several independent browsers. This discusses the two editions of Edge: Edge::HTML, and Edge::Chrome.

Microsoft Edge::HTML Edge::HTML

Edge::HTML is a Windows 10 browser, using the Edge::HTML browser engine. The userAgent for Edge makes it easy for naïve browser sniffers to mistake it for Chrome, Opera, or Safari. A Microsoft document cites a user agent as:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/42.0.2311.135 Safari/537.36 Edge/12.<OS build number>.

The userAgent for Edge has a substring which makes it appear to be (in this example) Edge 12.

Microsoft Edge::Chrome Edge::Chrome

Edge::Chrome is a later browser, using the same browser engine as Google Chrome. It runs on Android, iOS, MacOS, & Windows 7+, The userAgent for Edge makes it easy for naïve browser sniffers to mistake it for Chrome, Opera, or Safari. An example of its user agent is:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/80.0.3987.87 Safari/537.36 Edg/80.0.361.62.

The userAgent for Edge has a substring which makes it appear to be (in this example) Edg 80.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Microsoft Internet Explorer

Microsoft has made several independent browsers. This discusses its current flagship browser, Internet Explorer for Windows [get it.


Note: Microsoft doesn’t update the version vector when it makes se­cu­ri­ty updates; Exception: Microsoft has updated the version vector for IE 9.

Internet Explorer’s Future

For years IE was available on several platforms. This has changed. In Sep 2002 Microsoft killed IE for HP-UX and Sun Solaris. In Jun 2003 it ended IE upgrades for MacOS; in May 2005 it killed MSN Explorer for MacOS; and in Jan 2006 it killed IE for MacOS. Now IE is for Windows only.

For years new versions of IE would run on much older platforms. This has changed. IE 7 and 8 are available only on Windows XP SP2+, and IE 9 is available only on Windows Vista+.

For years new versions of IE appeared only with new versions of Windows, which has resulted in IE stagnating when new versions of Windows were delayed. This has changed. In Mar 2009 Microsoft released IE 8 without a new version of Windows. Releasing new versions of IE without waiting for new versions of Windows will enable IE to compete better with other browsers.

For years new versions of IE maintained very high compatibility with older versions, even when this prevented IE from supporting standards properly. This has changed: IE 8 and IE 9 are standards compliant by default, behaving like older versions only when designers insist on ignoring standards.

Netscape Plug-ins

Microsoft ended support for Netscape plug-ins with IE5.5/SP2. Users must find equivalent ActiveX components, even though ActiveX is a major cause of se­cu­ri­ty problems. [more Designers must change their code to use ActiveX components, as Apple did for QuickTime.

Java and Windows

A court ruling forbids Microsoft to distribute its own version of Java, but doesn’t force it to distribute Sun’s. Those wanting Java must therefore get it on their own, and also must get updates on their own, which means that many people unknowingly use old versions of Java, replete with bugs and se­cu­ri­ty flaws.

DOCTYPEs and Internet Explorer

IE5//Mac and IE6//Windows (and up) render pages differently for different DOCTYPEs [more.

“Mark of the Web”

When browsing a site on the “Local Machine”, e.g. on a test PC, a comment with a “Mark of the Web” may be put in the code to make the site work as it would at a specified URL, including any se­cu­ri­ty restrictions at that URL [more.

Browsers Using Internet Explorer

The IE engine is used by many browsers, including:



Microsoft MSN Explorer Microsoft MSN Explorer

MSN Explorer was a suite that Microsoft made for subscribers of its MSN Internet service. The suite made Microsoft’s MSN Internet service a more viable competitor to AOL. It integrated standard Microsoft software with a customized user interface and special services.

This product appears to be extinct. The MSN Explorer download page says that this product comes with Internet Explorer 5.5, which hasn’t been supported for a very long time.

Microsoft MSN-TV Microsoft MSN-TV (WebTV)

MSN-TV was a Microsoft TV-based Internet appliance, formerly named WebTV. There were two versions of MSN-TV:



Mosaic Mosaic

The NCSA made Mosaic, one of the original graphic-based browsers: earlier browsers were text-based. Many current browsers — including Netscape and Internet Explorer — trace their origins to Mosaic [get it.

Development of Mosaic was abandoned long ago, and now is only of historical interest.

Mozilla Mozilla & Friends (Firefox, SeaMonkey, etc.)

The Mozilla Group makes the open-source, highly standards-compliant Gecko browser engine, used by a diverse range of products on many platforms.

NB​: you can donate to the Mozilla Foundation.

Mozilla Browser Products

Here are some current Mozilla browser products:

DOCTYPEs and Gecko

Gecko will render pages differently for different DOCTYPEs [more.

Designing for Gecko

Mozilla has info for designing pages for Gecko [more.

“about” Pages

Firefox and SeaMonkey have sets of built-in pages whose names begin with about:, for example about:config, used to configure the browsers. Some of these built-in pages are listed by the page named about:about.


Wikipedia: Mozilla Foundation, Firefox, Camino, SeaMonkey, Gecko-based browsers.

Nokia Nokia

Nokia offers a mobile web browser in some of its cellphones.

Some cellphones may use a Safari-based browser.

OmniWeb OmniWeb

The Omni Group makes the OmniWeb browser for Mac MacOS. It was not free until version 5.9 appeared.

NB​: links in OmniWeb broke in Sep 2013.




Opera Opera

Opera Software, owned by a Chinese consortium, makes the Opera browser for a wide variety of platforms. Opera is renowned as a browser that is small, fast, and standards-compliant. There are three major families of browsers:

Opera for PCs

This used an Opera browser engine until Opera 15, when it switched to Chrome. At this point it appears to have stopped releasing matching versions for Free BSD.

Note: Opera updates the version vector when it makes se­cu­ri­ty updates.

Opera Mini

Opera Mobile

Opera Coast

Opera and Standards

To learn about Opera’s support of standards, see Web Specifications Supported in Opera 6, Opera 7, and Opera 8, and Opera 9.

DOCTYPEs and Opera 7

Opera 7+ will render pages differently for different DOCTYPEs [more.

“opera” Pages

Opera has a set of built-in pages whose names begin with opera:, for example opera:config, used to configure the browser.



Pale Moon Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a browser using a browser engine named Goanna and a JavaScript engine named SpiderMonkey which are derived from a Firefox engine prior to Firefox Quantum. Pale Moon is currently available only for Windows and Linux, though a version for MacOS is planned.

NB​: a Goanna is a type of lizard; the browser engine was likely named Goanna because the Goanna lizards are somewhat similar to Mozilla’s lizard logo.

RockMelt RockMelt

Uses Webkit Browser Engine RockMelt offered a Chrome-based social browser. [get it

A public beta appeared in Mar 2011; it has been discontinued.

Samsung Internet Samsung Internet

Samsung Internet is a light Android browser made by Samsung. [get it

Skyfire Skyfire

Skyfire, bought by Opera Software in Feb of 2013, once offered a mobile browswer, and now offers a mobile browser extension platform named Horizon. [get it


Vivaldi Vivaldi

Vivaldi is a KHTML-based browser for Windows, MacOS, and Linux made by Vivaldi Technologies. [get it

News about updates is available here.


Amaya Amaya

Amaya is a browser/editor made by the W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) — an organization that defines the browser standards — in order to test and exhibit elements of new standards. All versions of Amaya were necessarily betas. Work on Amaya ended in 2012.

For details about Amaya, visit the Amaya site.

W3C Standards

The W3C has over 300 members. It makes recommendations which — as they are made by consensus of the members — are de facto standards.

Web (Epiphany) Web (Epiphany)

Uses Webkit Browser Engine Web is the Linux Gnome browser, also known as Epiphany, also available for other versions of Linux.

The Web browser uses Apple’s WebKit Browser engine.

Axis Yahoo Axix

Uses Webkit Browser Engine Axis is a browser for small devices such as iPhones and iPads. Axis is also a set of add-ons for desktop browsers. [details…]

The Axis browser uses Apple’s WebKit Browser engine.

Uses Yandex Browser EngineYandex Browser

The Yandex browser is a browser developed by the Yandex search engine company. [details…]


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