May 18, 2001

Open Source 'No Limits' Windows browser: Just for the fun of it

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -

Peter Revill has a couple of good explanations when asked why he and his friends are working on an Open Source Web browser, written in Visual Basic and available first for Windows machines, called No Limits.

Revill's group, "The Four Horsemen," want their browser to have "no limits" in its ability to render Web pages, and that's why the browser links two rendering engines, Open Source Mozilla and closed-source Internet Explorer.

"The ultimate goal is to have the fastest and most compatible browser out there," says Revill, a.k.a nervlord. "Basically it takes two great browsers and combines them in harmony. This is the ultimate goal of the browser: When you visit a page, No Limits looks at the html code as it is downloaded, and works out which browser will render it in the quickest or most
compatible way, promising the best speed and the best looking/functioning pages

But Revill, a student in Perth, Australia, has another, a "corny" reason for launching the project, which is written in Visual Basic. "[The reason for No Limits] is mostly that I want to develop something fun, something that will introduce people who might not hear about Open Source to how much fun an Open Source project can be," he says. "I want to introduce people who might use VB to Open Source ... VB is used to court young developers, it's one of the first languages a lot of programmers learn. If the second thing
they learn about is Open Source, then I'm happy."

Even though the No Limits browser uses the closed-source IE rendering engine, the No Limits code itself is released under the GNU General Public License, Revill says. Right now, the project is focused on creating a browser for Windows, but Revill also wants to create a Linux version that uses the Mozilla and Konqueror browsers. That part of the project may be some time off, until Revill becomes more familiar with KDevelop.

Right now, interested developers can download the source code for the project. "At the moment all we have is the source code ready
for downloading and compiling," Revill says. "I am in need of a server to hold the binary
version as the main site is hosted on a university connection my very generous university
has loaned me, and I don't want to place a burden on their network activity by putting on a big file, so I'm looking for space for the binary version.

"2.0 is actually the current release," he adds, "but all that is is a browser where
you can choose to switch engines, so in terms of getting where we want to
get (where No Limits works out what code will render under which browser
faster) we are a long way off!"

In addition to looking for a host, Revill can also use some extra, enthusiastic hands. "It's a lot harder finding VB coders than I thought," he says. "I think it's because a lot of people have a perception that because it;s a browser that it must be hard; that's far from the truth, its easy and fun! I personally consider myself a pretty medium VB coder, not good. not bad
either, but a lot of my friends who are contributing to it now aren't all that
good, its their enthusiasm and willingness to help that makes it work."

For more information on the No Limits browser, check out the FAQ.


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