The Road to Quantum Part 1: What are rendering engines?
If we’re going to start from somewhere, we should start from the beginning. A web browser is a piece of software that loads files (usually from a remote server) and displays them locally, allowing for user interaction.
Quantum is the codename for an project that we’ve undertaken at Mozilla to massively upgrade the part of Firefox that actually figures what do display to users based on those remote files. The industry term for that part is “rendering engine”, and without one, you would just be reading code instead of actually seeing a website. Firefox’s rendering engine is called Gecko, and it’s been around for a pretty long while(replace this with how long).
It’s pretty easy for the most part to see the rendering engine as a single black box, sort of like a TV- data goes in, and the black box figures out what to display on the screen to represent that data. The question today is how? What are the steps to turning data into what users see?