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A gecko is a small to large Japanese lizard. However, in the Mozilla context Gecko refers to the browser layout engine. Gecko is:

  • open source free software (It was initially created by Netscape Corporation but now its development is stewarded by the Mozilla Foundation.)
  • cross-platform (Windows, BSD, Linux and Mac OS X)
  • Written in C++
  • Gecko is used in almost all Mozilla based software.
  • The 2nd most popular layout engine after Trident (IE's layout engine).

Gecko supports the following open internet standards:

  • Hyptertext Markup Language (HTML) v4.0
  • JavaScript 1.6
  • eXtensible Markup Language (XML) v1.0
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 & 2
  • eXtensible Hyptertext Markup Language (XHTML) v 1.1
  • Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
  • Resource Description Framework (RDF)



Gecko is written in C++ and offers a rich programming API allowing it to support a variety of nternet related applications. But what exactly is a layout engine? and what does it do?