In other pages in this series, I refer to most browser by their browser name ("Internet Explorer", "Opera", "Safari", "Konqueror") but instead of talking about "Firefox" I talk about "Gecko". This page is mainly here to explain that choice.
|Trident||Internet Explorer for Windows|
|Tasman||Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh|
Netscape 6 and later
Epiphany 2.20 and before
iCab 4 and later
Epiphany 2.26 and later
|iCab||iCab 3 and before|
In writing articles about the behavior of different versions of different browsers, it's generally clearest to refer to the browser instead of the layout engine, as layout engines are much less well known. However, since there are several fairly common Mozilla browsers with different version numbering schemes, this gets a bit awkward. I could say that there are certain annoying layout bugs in Firefox 1.0, Mozilla 1.7, Netscape 7.2 and 8.1, Camino 0.8 and Epiphany 1.4 and 1.8. But I'd much rather say that there are certain annoying layout bugs in Gecko 1.7, which underlies all those browsers.
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8) Gecko/20051111 Firefox/1.5If you write your code to pay attention to the Gecko version number, then you can handle all Gecko-based browsers as one case, instead of having separate cases for each different browser. So from a programmer's point of view, what matters is Gecko, not Firefox.
Do not be confused by browser strings like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:5.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/5.0The "5.0" after "Mozilla" is meaningless and will probably never change. The "5.0" after "Firefox" is the browser version number. The "5.0" after "rv" is the Gecko version number. Starting with Firefox 5.0, the Firefox and Gecko version numbers are supposed to always be the same, but they weren't for older browsers and they aren't for other browsers using Gecko, so it is important to be looking at the right one.
All the Gecko-based browsers except Firefox seem to be steadily faging away, so this distinction seems to becoming moot, but now there are a lot of WebKit browsers, and the same rule applies -- for Safari, you want to parse out the AppleWebKit version number, not the Safari version number.
|Gecko version||Mozilla Suite||Firefox||Netscape||Camino||K-Meleon||Galeon||Epiphany|
|Gecko 5.0||SeaMonkey 2.2||Firefox 5.0||-||-||-||-||-|
|Gecko 2.0||SeaMonkey 2.1||Firefox 4.0||-||-||-||-||-|
|Gecko 1.9||SeaMonkey 2.0||Firefox 3.5
|-||Camino 2.0||K-Meleon 1.6||-||-|
|Gecko 1.8||SeaMonkey 1.1
|Netscape 9.0||Camino 1.x||K-Meleon 1.5
|Galeon 2.0||Epiphany 2.x|
|Gecko 1.7||Mozilla 1.7||Firefox 1.0||Netscape 8.1
|Camino 0.8||K-Meleon 0.9||Galeon 1.3.16
|Gecko 1.6||Mozilla 1.6||Firefox 0.8||-||Camino 0.7+||-||Galeon 1.3.12||Epiphany 1.2
|Gecko 1.5||Mozilla 1.5||Firebird 0.6.1||-||-||K-Meleon 0.8||Galeon 1.3.10||-|
|Gecko 1.4||Mozilla 1.4||Firebird 0.6||Netscape 7.1||-||-||Galeon 1.3.6||Epiphany 0.9|
|Gecko 1.2||Mozilla 1.2||Firebird 0.1||-||-||K-Meleon 0.7||Galeon 1.2.7||-|
|Gecko 1.0||Mozilla 1.0||-||Netscape 7.0||Camino 0.7
|Gecko 0.9||Mozilla 0.9||-||Netscape 6.2
|Gecko 0.6||Mozilla 0.6||-||Netscape 6.0||-||K-Meleon 0.2||-||-|
It should be noted that there was a time when some of the Mozilla people denied that Gecko was named "Gecko". They say that that is term invented by Netscape's marketing department for the combination of the Mozilla "NGLayout" project (which was previously called "Raptor") and the Mozilla "XPFE" project. Which doesn't explain why the user agent strings in all Mozilla browsers say "Gecko". So to heck with them. It's "Gecko" whether they like it or not. Much better name anyway. Sometimes marketing departments are not wrong.
|534.7||-||7.0.517 to 7.0.520||-|
|534.3||-||6.0.456 to 6.0.472||-|
|534.2||-||6.0.451 to 6.0.454||-|
|534.1||-||6.0.414 to 6.0.428||-|
|533.4||-||5.0.366 to 5.0.375||-|
|533.3||-||5.0.353 to 5.0.363||-|
|533.2||-||5.0.342 to 5.0.343||-|
|532.9||-||5.0.307 to 5.0.310||-|
|532.8||-||4.0.288 to 4.0.302||-|
|532.5||-||4.0.246 to 4.0.249||-|
|532.3||-||4.0.224 to 4.0.227||-|
|532.2||-||4.0.221 to 4.0.223||-|
|532.1||-||4.0.212 to 4.0.220||-|
|532.0||-||3.0.195 to 4.0.211||-|
|531.3||-||3.0.192 to 3.0.193||-|
|531.2||-||3.0.191||2.28 to 2,30|
|531.0||-||2.0.182 to 3.0.191||-|
|530.8||-||2.0.177 to 2.0.178||-|
|530.7||-||2.0.175 to 2.0.176||-|
|530.5||-||2.0.172 to 2.0.173||-|
|530.1||-||2.0.164 to 2.0.170||-|
|530.0||-||2.0.160 to 2.0.162||-|
|525.19||3.1.2||0.2.149 to 1.0.154||-|
Actually, the mapping between Safari version numbers and WebKit versions numbers isn't all that rigid either. It is quite possible to have several WebKit versions installed on your computer simultaneously, and to tell whatever version of Safari you are using to use any one of them. However, only serious browser geeks do this, so you needn't worry about it.
Note that Apple and Google hardly ever release the exact same version of WebKit. It looks like Google tends to use young versions of the newest branch, while Apple uses more mature versions of an older branch. This is probably an artifact of their radically different release cycles. To some degree, Google may be doing Apple's beta testing.
Chrome version numbers are weird. They are like two independent version numbering schemes concatinated together. The first two numbers look like the marketing department's version numbers, what the version number would look like if their release cycle was as slow as Apple's. The last number just seems to steadily tick upward as new revisions are checked into the release build, entirely independently of the first two digits. I suspect that if you want to have your software check Chrome version numbers, then you should ignore the first two digits, and use only the third and forth digit.