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How to Make a Web Browser?
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How to Make a Web Browser?

By Simon Patel

If anything in our daily routine became automatized like breathing, it’s surfing the internet. Browsers are so seamlessly integrated into day-to-day life, serving us with web pages, that we merely forget they exist or at least don’t think at all about how they are made and work, because the first one created is so distanced from us. But what if we will?

Imagine how can it be if there was a browser just for you. Created around your specific personal needs, sitting tight as your own skin. And it is not a distant dream like a personal jet or something similar, it’s closer than appears.

Long story short: how to create a browser?

In a nutshell, there’s a multi-step process of browser creation. From picking framework to distribution.

Usually, the starting point is the engine that will power the browser: Gecko, Webkit, or Blink, all of them are responsible for parsing the code, creating a document object model (DOM) structure, calculating the layout and visual styles, and painting the final output onto the screen. Basically, it’s a conductor of the browser orchestra, ensuring it will be played as needed.

Then goes a more detailed work on a user interface (UI). Like design and layout, because navigation buttons aren’t pinned there of their own will. It surely involves mapping and programming, the best examples of which can be provided by the well-known HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If we continue our musical association it’ll be the creation of structure, the process of composing the piece that the orchestra will perform: melody and harmony balance.

But the browsing experience can’t be full without such core features like page refreshment, navigation, or bookmarks, though tabs are living through an era of reinvention. Then go SSL/TLS encryption and other privacy tools and performance optimization.

And never consider it just a formality, tests and debugging are as crucial as repetitions, you always need to make sure everything works just right for the best performance at any given platform and device. It is as crucial for overall experience as for your security — oh those vulnerabilities. How to make a browser fail? Leave it as created.

Finally, let it live. If commercial ambitions or other intentions like improvement based on feedback push you to share it with the world, that step includes deployment and distribution. Wrap it and go. I mean pack it for each targeted platform, create a download portal, better be on an official site with all the information provided and voila, engage with the user community. Promote and prosper.

Framework and Tools: create your own browser

But we’re gathered there for more personal interest so that it’ll be. Sure, for creating your own browser you will need at least just a little bit of programming knowledge because no tool will get you there without code. What you can’t start without are frameworks and engines.

But web browser frameworks became very accessible and easy to go. How to create a web browser of your dream? First step — choose the right platform. The most popular and well-known are Chromium, Electron, and Gecko. And if you consider making your own browser — your choice will highly likely fall on one of them.

Let’s look at each one a little bit deeper, so we can provide a glimpse of understanding of creating fundament, a starting point after which we theoretically can’t guide you so much really.

Chromium

Undeniably popular, Chromium forms the basis of many fundamental browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Brave, and even Sidekick. Though an open-source framework was created first specifically for Google, it has since garnered contributions from various developers and organizations. Chromium is built on the Blink rendering (a fork of the WebKit engine) and the V8 JavaScript engines, which together offer high performance and compatibility with modern web standards.

What does it mean and offer?

Open-source and customizability. Oh, precious open-source, the gift to these aching to start creating a web browser. No need to build everything from scratch, there, you can do it by modifying the existing code and adjusting it to your needs. Quite an option for both newbies and advanced users.

Built-in features. Another advantage of Chromium lies in its comprehensive suite of built-in features, such as bookmarks, history management, extension support, and more. Developers can capitalize on these ready-made functionalities when constructing their browsers, which ultimately conserves time and energy.

Cross-platform support. Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. A versatile classic choice for developers looking up to modern standards. Helps to create a browser that catches users on multiple devices and operating systems.

Regular updates.

Developer tools. An impressive array of developer tools, commonly referred to as DevTools, streamline web development, debugging, and performance enhancement processes. These cutting-edge instruments not only facilitate the construction and upkeep of websites but also provide browser developers with an efficient means of refining and bolstering their browser’s performance.

So, fast and furious… I mean fast, compatible with a wide range of web standards and technologies, Chromium showed its influential nature to many of us under different faces. But the problem is no matter how many secure web protocols it supports and regular updates rolls, close tights with Google are definitely rising concerns about its security. No one has said you can’t try to disable all these trackers within the Blink of an eye, though. We in Sidekick, for example, tried and served. And last but not least, the large community will definitely answer as many questions about “how to make your own browser?”

Electron

Though not a dedicated web browser framework, Electron claims to make “desktop development easy”. Meaning: it is not specializing in browsers but uses the same web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) to allow developers to build cross-platform apps. It’s just that they will require a few additional touches to make a browser.

But there’s no surprise it’s more developer-oriented as it is created by GitHub.

Cross-platform support. Seamless experience either on Windows, macOS, or Linux is already something so casual that sometimes it’s better to look the way you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and Electron gives that opportunity with a single code base. Winning you some time, isn’t it?

Developer tools. If you ever asked yourself how to make your own web browser being already a developer then you mentioned most of them are created for a far more wide audience, but not you. You can apply the previous rule here too but from the other side. Take advantage of the built-in Chromium DevTools, for example. The simple solution for performance optimization and debugging.

Native application features. The power of Electron is the access to native operating system capabilities like file system access, notifications, and hardware-specific functions. By leveraging these features, you can create versatile desktop applications that surpass the limitations of web-based ones, offering a more engaging experience.

Web-technology based. Utilization of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript web technologies makes it easy for developers to transition into creating desktop applications. You won’t need to learn new languages or tools, ready to go.

Regular updates. Guess it’s a lot easier to ensure that the framework stays current with the latest advancements in web and desktop application development with a vibrant community of developers and contributors such as Electron. Does it make it less valuable? Nope. Support and improvement can’t lose value in growing numbers.

Overall, it’s easy to learn especially for those experienced in web development, and suggests extensive resources for learning and troubleshooting thanks to the robust community. But surely not an easy-going lightweight way and it can be resource-intensive making a web browser.

Gecko

Primarily written in C++ Gecko rendering engine is well-known for its emphasis on privacy and security. It is developed by Mozilla. Same old CSS, HTML, and Javascript in the pack, but add some spice (HTML5, CSS3, and WebGL).

Cross-platform support. Yet again, covering one of the most thrived needs, Gecko runs on various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Make a web browser suiting for all. Consistency isn’t lost with the engine before Mozilla Firefox.

Customization and modular architecture. Modular architecture can be easily adapted to accommodate the unique requirements of individual projects. This empowers developers to craft browsers and applications with a bespoke selection of features and performance capabilities, ensuring a truly distinctive and engaging user experience.

Privacy and security. Content Security Policy, Same-Origin Policy, and we just started. Tracking protection in the pocket, plus both vital and inevitable support of secure web protocols including HTTPS and TLS. Modern days — modern ways of protection.

Web-standard compliance. Gecko aims to provide excellent support for web standards, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web APIs. It closely follows the specifications outlined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other organizations, ensuring that web pages render consistently and accurately.

Accessibility support. How to make an internet browser inclusive? Implementation of web accessibility features like Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) or familiar text-to-speech and keyboard navigation technology, lets developers ensure that websites and applications function well for a wide range of users.

Regular updates. The Mozilla Foundation and its dedicated community of contributors actively maintain and update the Gecko engine. This guarantees that the engine remains up-to-date with cutting-edge web standards, technologies, and security protocols.

Even with the smaller community compared to Chromium, and therefore fewer resources, Gecko is still quite an option to consider. It still adherence to web standards and has a strong focus on security and privacy (unlike the mentioned colleague), so you won’t be sidetracked by “how to make browser secure” objective. And cute details like mobile platforms support are always warming hearts. Yeah, it can be harder to learn, but sometimes a little struggle can give more.

Finding peace

Whatever you choose to make your own web browser on, it is already a good start. Chromium with a high-performance engine, easy-to-learn Electron, or security-guarding Gecko. Choosing the right framework will depend on your specific requirements, existing knowledge, and project goals.

Everything else is an even deeper individualized process with an adventurous search for suitable features you thrived for. That’s why our authorities end here. But a little recap won’t hurt:

  • UI make it functional and handy, you don’t want to dig yourself a hole
  • Enhancing security and privacy features, especially using a base like Chromium with trackers that can compromise it
  • Optimize performance and resource management, your machine will say thank you
  • Test and debug, don’t slip, it only helps to get what you want

Don’t forget to keep up with your standards but let’s have some fun. A browser is still just a tool. But what if there’s something already there to cover all your needs? Fast, secure, almost a full Browser based OS? Make your own browser or check Sidekick, don’t be scared.

FAQ

Creating a web browser involves selecting an engine like Gecko, Webkit, or Blink, designing the UI, implementing core features, enhancing security, optimizing performance, and conducting thorough testing and debugging before distribution. That’s a short undetailed but step-by-step explanation.

Sidekick is designed with a deep understanding of modern users’ browsing needs, featuring efficient resource management, robust privacy, and security measures, and an intuitive user interface. Its features include an integrated ad-blocker, powerful developer tools, a built-in note-taking app, and customizable workspaces. We regularly update it based on user feedback and the latest web standards, ensuring it stays relevant to your needs without you needing to anxiously seek how to create browser yourself.

Designing a browser’s UI involves several key considerations. First, it should be intuitive and user-friendly, allowing users to navigate the web easily. This includes clear icons, easy-to-use address bars, and straightforward navigation buttons. Second, the UI should be efficient and promote productivity, which might involve features like tab management, shortcuts, and search functions. Third, customization options can provide users with the ability to personalize their browsing experience to suit their specific needs. Lastly, it’s crucial to ensure the UI is aesthetically pleasing and modern, contributing to the experience.

Chromium is highly customizable, supports multiple platforms, and offers built-in features and developer tools. Electron, while not a dedicated browser framework, is easy to learn, supports cross-platform development, and allows access to native OS functionalities. Gecko prioritizes privacy and security, has a modular architecture for customization, and supports web-standard compliance and accessibility features. So you can choose which suits you better based on your needs and skills.