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Trident (also known as MSHTML) is the layout engine for the Microsoft Windows version of Internet Explorer.
It was first introduced with the release of Internet Explorer version 4.0 in October 1997; it has been steadily upgraded and remains in use today. For versions 7 and 8 of Internet Explorer, Microsoft made significant changes to the Trident layout engine to improve compliance with web standards and add support for new technologies.
Trident was designed as a software component to allow software developers to easily add web browsing functionality to their own applications. It presents a COM interface for accessing and editing web pages in any COM-supported environment, like C++ and .NET. For instance, a web browser control can be added to a C++ program and Trident can then be used to access the page currently displayed in the web browser and retrieve element values.

Events from the web browser control can also be captured. Trident functionality becomes available by linking the file mshtml.dll to the software project. All versions of Internet Explorer for Windows from 4.0 onwards use Trident, and it is also used by various other web browsers and software components.In Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows 2000, it is also used for the Windows file manager/shell,Windows Explorer.The Add/Remove Programs tool in Windows 2000 uses Trident to render the list of installed programs, and in Windows XP it is also used for the User Accounts Control Panel, which is an HTML Application.


Gecko is a web browser engine used in many applications developed by Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, as well as in many other open source software projects. Gecko is free and open-source software subject to the terms of the Mozilla Public License version 2.It is designed to support open Internet standards, and is used by different applications to display web pages and, in some cases, an application’s user interface itself by using MozillaContorol library. Gecko offers a rich programming API that makes it suitable for a wide variety of roles in Internet-enabled applications, such as web browsers, content presentation, and client/server. Gecko is written in C++ and is cross-platform, and runs on various operating systems including Linux, OS X, OS/2, OpenVMS, and Microsoft Windows. Its development is now overseen by the Mozilla Foundation. After the launch of the Mozilla project in early 1998, the new layout engine code was released under an open-source license.Originally unveiled as Raptor, the name had to be changed to NGLayout (next generation layout) due to trademark problems. Netscape later rebranded NGLayout as Gecko.While Mozilla Organization initially continued to use the NGLayout name (Gecko was a Netscape trademark), eventually the Gecko branding won out.

In October 1998, Netscape announced that its next browser would use Gecko (which was still called NGLayout at the time) rather than the old layout engine, requiring
large parts of the application to be rewritten.Netscape 6, the first Netscape release to incorporate Gecko, was released in November 2000 . As Gecko development continued, other applications and embedders began to make use of it.

America Online, by this time Netscape’s parent company, eventually adopted it for use in CompuServe 7.0 and AOL for Mac OS X . However, with the exception of a few betas, Gecko was never used in the main Microsoft Windows AOL client.
On July 15, 2003, AOL laid off the remaining Gecko developers and the Mozilla Foundation (formed on the same day) became the main steward of Gecko develop-ment. Today, Gecko is developed by employees of the Mozilla Corporation, employees of companies that contribute to the Mozilla project, and volunteers.


WebKit is a layout engine software component for rendering web pages in web browsers. It powers Apple’s Safari web browser and a fork of the project is used in Google’s Chrome web browser. By September 2013, WebKit browser market share was larger than that of both the Trident engine used by Internet Explorer and the
Gecko engine used by Firefox.

WebKit is the default browser in the Apple iOS, BlackBerry Browser in OS 6 and above, and Tizen mobile operating systems. WebKit’s C++ application programming interface provides a set of classes to display web content in windows, and implements browser features such as following links when clicked by the user, managing a back-forward list, and managing a history of pages recently visited. WebKit’s HTML and JavaScript code was originally a fork of the KHTML and KJS
libraries from KDE, and has now been further developed by individuals from KDE, Apple, Google, Nokia, Bitstream, BlackBerry, Igalia, and others. OS X, Windows, Linux, and some other Unix-like operating systems are supported by the project. On April 3, 2013, Google announced that it had forked WebCore, a component of WebKit to be used in future versions of Google Chrome and Opera under the name Blink.

The code that would become WebKit began in 1998 as the KDE’s HTML layout engine KHTML and KDE’s JavaScript engine (KJS).The WebKit project was started within Apple by Don Melton on June 25, 2001 as a fork of KHTML and KJS. Melton explained in an e-mail to KDE developers that KHTML and KJS allowed easier development than other available technologies by virtue of being small, cleanly designed and standards-compliant.KHTML and KJS were ported to OS X with the help of an adapter library and renamed WebCore and JavaScriptCore. JavaScript- Core was announced in an e-mail to a KDE mailing list in June 2002, alongside the first release of Apple’s changes. WebCore was announced at the Macworld Expo in January 2003 by Apple CEO Steve Jobs with the release of the Safari web browser. On June 7, 2005, Safari developer Dave Hyatt announced on his weblog that Apple was open-sourcingWebKit (previously, onlyWebCore and JavaScriptCore were open source) and opening up access toWebKit’s revision control tree and the issue tracker. This was announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2005 by Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet. A project to redesign WebKit was announced on April 8, 2010 under the name WebKit2. WebKit2’s goal is to abstract the components that provide web rendering cleanly from their surrounding interface or application shell, creating a situation where, "web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process from the application UI". This abstraction is intended to make WebKit2’s reuse a more straightforward process than WebKit’s. WebKit2 has "an incompatible API change from the original WebKit", which motivated its name change.


GeckoFX is a Windows Forms control written in clean, commented C# that embeds the Mozilla Gecko browser control in any Windows Forms Application. It also contains a simple class model providing access to the HTML and CSS DOM. GeckoFX was originally created by Andrew Young for the fast-growing visual CSS editor, Stylizer. It is now released as open-source under the Mozilla Public License. GeckoFX is a .NET wrapper around XULRunner, a runtime based on the same source code as Firefox. You can add the control to your windows forms app and use it much the same way as System.Windows.Forms.WebBrowser. Since GeckoFX is a wrapper, you need to the XULRunner runtime somewhere on your development system (and redistribute it with your application). GeckoFX now works best with XULRunner 1.9 (Firefox 3).

©2015 Muhammad Fasi and Abdul Karim, Institute of Information Technology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. All rights reserved.