How Browsers Work: Behind the scenes of modern web browsers

In the years of IE 90% dominance there was nothing much to do but regard the browser as a “black box”, but now, with open source browsers having more than half of the usage share, it’s a good time to take a peek under the engine’s hood and see what’s inside a web browser. Well, what’s inside are millions of C++ lines…

This is how Tali Garsiel introduces the journey that brought her into the depths of the web browsers’s source code.

I was looking for an insight about some browser’s behaviours, specifically the performance boost one can have on a browser by hiding elements using the CSS property display : none which seems to bear the same effects as deleting the DOM nodes altogether. I wanted to understand how exactly the rendering process is managed, and luckily I found her work published on HTML5rocks, introduced and cleaned up by Paul Irish. The original version is also available on her personal web site :

The document is REALLY long, reason why despite my fair English skills the reading did get difficult after a while, still the topics discussed are very important for a better understanding of what is the daily work tool of all the web develpers.

So in order to better understand all the processes explained I translated the whole document to Italian. The Italian translation can be found by switching the language of the current page to Italian.

After that, I stopped complaining when Chrome doesn’t load my 50 tabs instantly at statup, the job done behind each tab is quite amazing 😀

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