RockMelt: Another Day, Another New Browser

By Craig Buckler
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RockMeltYou know, sometimes, multiple versions of five mainstream browsers just isn’t enough. Step forward RockMelt — a startup founded by Eric Vishria and Tim Howes. They intend to launch a new and improved web browser into an increasingly-crowded market.

What makes RockMelt different (and news-worthy) is that it’s been backed by Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. Netscape developed the Internet’s first graphical browser and introduced millions of people to the early web in the mid-1990s. Although Netscape was trounced by Microsoft in the first browser war, Mr Andreessen has moved on to become a prominent Silicon Valley financier.

Mr. Andreessen has stated that RockMelt will offer a different browsing experience. He suggests that most other browsers have not kept pace with web evolution, and remain based in the realms of static web pages rather than complex networked web applications:

There are all kinds of things that you would do differently if you are building a browser from scratch.

Although he doesn’t elaborate on what those different things are, there has speculation that the new browser could offer tighter integration with social networks such as Facebook.

Currently, RockMelt is pure vaporware — although it does have a lovely logo. Only time will tell if it can offer anything over and above the existing browsers. For now, there are two conclusions we can make:

  1. Browser competition is a good thing. We should never return to the monopolistic days of IE6.
  2. If your daily job involves web application testing, it’s about to become even more secure!

Can RockMelt offer anything new? Will it be more than a nice logo? Are multiple browsers a help or a hindrance?

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  • Gareth

    *Sigh* Another browser… And of course… it’ll be better at security than those that are open-source… with better features… *yay*

    Time to go off and do some more testing of my websites in yet another browser… woop…

  • squig

    Oh joy!

  • “There are all kinds of things that you would do differently if you are building a browser from scratch.”

    Isn’t that what Google said when they announced what was to become yet another run-of-the-mill browser?

  • If they want it to be successful, they’d better come up with a better name than ‘RockMelt’…

  • The logo is interesting….I’m waiting to see the Firefox explode out of it a la Neo at the end of the first Matrix movie

  • FWIW, the first graphic browser was not developed by Netscape. Marc Andreessen did however play a significant part in developing Mosaic as well…

  • The RockMelt rendering engine: unless that startup has been in operation for three or four years with a few hundred engineers, it is very likely that they’ll use an existing rendering engine. So the only question is: is it Webkit (Safari, Chrome, etc.) or Gecko (Firefox, Camino)?

  • I hope it uses the same engine as a previous browsers (like Chrome did) so that this doesn’t slow down the development/testing process any more.

    It would be a good world if all the browsers had the same engine and rendered things the same. They could just have different skins on them to keep people happy.

    Personally, I don’t think the world needs another browser.

  • Mal Curtis

    Are multiple browsers a help or a hindrance?

    They’re a hindrance if you have to explain them to my mother…

  • Well, I might as well announce the new SitePoint Browser while we’re at it.

    It’s called…. er… Site… Melt.. er..Fox.. Yeah, SITEMELTERFOX!! And it’ll have all sorts of super cool stuff I can’t think of right now,…. for … NDA kinda reasons!

    And the logo! WAIT TILL YOU SEE THIS LOGO!!

    It’ll be like… reEEEEEeally COOOOL!

    Can I have some VC funding now, please?


  • fattyjules

    Is it mandatory for all browser logos to be circular?

  • Yet another browser is pure hindrance.

    BTW, the logo sucks!

  • @fattyjules
    Browsers are used for accessing the world wide web, and are therefore trying to convey this into their icon. Making it circular is supposed to bring up associations with Earth, and therefore the world. If the world was flat, they’d use a line with something beneath it to hold it. Some of the more popular IM’s like Skype and ICQ have a circular icon for the same reason… at least, that’s why I think they all have circular icons. I’m not basing this statement on a study or a published thesis of some sort.

    Besides, what’s wrong with circular icons?

  • insider

    here’s what it is: a browser with deep links to facebook. wanna upload images? why not host them on facebook? wanna save your bookmarks online? stuff ’em on facebook! etc. etc.

  • plaatspunt

    Currently, RockMelt is pure vaporware — although it does have a lovely logo

    Either you are joking, or you are an American. :S
    This logo is a total shame, a way to express your contempt for the users. How could one have such a lack of aesthetic intelligence? Sigh. What a shit, I am very underwhelmed.
    Yes i needed to express my sentiments.

  • DK

    Just a thought, why does all browsers have to be a container? i.e. runs like an application and every things done within the frame of the window?

    Why can’t we take the frame of and build a more natural browser? I mean, I spend 99% of time I sit in front of the PC using a browser. All my emails are there, majority of the information is there, with cloud computing most of the productivity stuff (word processing, spreadsheet) will eventually move online as well. So why not build an ubiquitous browser, rather than building the browser to feel like yet another application? I suppose Chrome OS might do it.

  • jsh11

    I literally read the headline and thought, “Oh no!”

  • It would be a good world if all the browsers had the same engine and rendered things the same.

    Except that we’d be back to where we were when IE6 totally dominated. There would be no competition to drive forward developments, and things would stagnate.

  • fattyjules

    @boen_robot, nothing wrong with the circular icons at all. It’s just interesting that it’s a trend no-one seems prepared to buck.

  • Kasimir

    FWIW: neither Netscape nor Mosaic was the first graphical web browser – it was Erwise. From : “Erwise was a pioneering web browser, and the first with a graphical user interface.”

  • @DK – that’s exactly the thinking that drove the development of Internet Explorer … until anti-competitive legislation got in the way. What a world.

  • joezim007

    I like the idea a browser than can do more to help push the internet forward and more browsers = more chances of worthwhile advances in browser technology, but more rendering engines = disaster. Yea, yea, if they all had one then there’d be no competition… BS. If we had one rendering engine that everyone contributed to because they should care about their customers, rendering engines would advance faster and the internet world would be that much easier to work with. If everyone contributes a little bit to the same rendering engine then each browser has more time to work on making their browser better and faster.

    BTW, I think the logo is awesome. I’m sorry if people have to insult American’s because of an opinion. I just hope that RockMelt can actually do something to make it worthy of a download. Honestly the only noticeable improvements that Chrome gave me over FF was quicker startup and form field highlighting without JavaScript or CSS. Everything else they’ve done is cool but unnoticeable. I’m hoping for something like when tabs and extensions were first introduced in browsers, except bigger. :)

  • @joezim007
    If there’s only one rendering engine, you might as well have one browser: vendors could only compete on features and chrome design (which are generally dependent on the rendering engine anyway).

    Fortunately, all the engines are following standards and push the adoption of technologies. If most vendors add HTML5 support, the others will need to follow.

    There are browser differences and testing is becoming harder, but competition is a great thing.

    BTW, I still like the logo too (although it looks better on a dark background). I’m not sure how I’ve offended plaatspunt with my opinion — calm down mate — it’s only a design!

  • Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! :)

  • Darkoneko

    If your daily job involves web application testing […]

    if your job involve web creating, you’ll have one more browser to make your websites with :)

  • otakhi

    talking about a new browser…

    Check out, another stealth Internet Application in development.

    Also check out the video here: