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Choosing The Rendering Engine





HTML Executable offers two rendering engines for your ebooks and publications: the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) and WebView 2. Each of these engines has its unique advantages and potential disadvantages. Understanding the differences between these two engines can help you select the one that's most suitable for your needs. Both of them offer full support for HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, media files, and so on.


  HTML Executable lets you change the rendering engine whenever you like. We made the different resources used by the software compatible between the 2 engines.



Some hints


CEF can be a preferable choice for older Windows versions like Windows 7, where WebView2 might not be installed. WebView2 is perfectly suited for Windows 11. Furthermore, if your website or ebook contains MP4 videos with certain proprietary codecs, WebView2 is likely a more reliable choice. You should actually test your website with HTML Executable to see which engine works best for you.


Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF)


CEF is a simple framework for embedding Chromium-based browsers in other applications. It's the same rendering engine used in Google Chrome, which means that it offers high performance and compatibility with modern web technologies.


Advantages of CEF


ØExcellent performance and compatibility with modern web technologies.

ØDoes not rely on system updates or dependencies.

ØStand-alone ebooks and applications (no need to download anything else).

ØOne single EXE file for your application: easy distribution.


Disadvantages of CEF


ØThe CEF engine can result in larger application EXE file sizes, leading to ebooks or publications that are several tens of megabytes in size.

ØDoes not include proprietary media codecs (MP4 videos won't be played unless you use the dedicated CEF build that offers MP4 support but requires specific licensing).


WebView 2


WebView 2 is a free Microsoft component that uses the same Chromium-based engine found in the Edge browser. It's a part of Windows 11 and is also available for previous versions of Windows through Windows Update or stand-alone installer available for free.


Advantages of WebView 2


ØExcellent performance and compatibility with modern web technologies.

ØAs a component of Windows, it does not require the provision of Chromium dependencies, simplifying the deployment process.

ØIt can result in smaller EXE file sizes compared to CEF, since we don't have to ship the entire framework files.

ØRegularly updated by Microsoft to take account of new HTML5 features.

ØOne single EXE file for your application: easy distribution.


Disadvantages of WebView 2


ØIt depends on system updates, which means that it may not be available on all systems, particularly older ones.

ØFor end users without WebView2, HTML Executable will ask them to install the WebView2 component and give them instructions about how to do so.


Changing the Rendering Engine


To select the rendering engine in HTML Executable:


1.Navigate to Application Settings / Rendering Engine.

2.Choose your preferred engine from the "Selected Engine" dropdown list.


In this page, you can also configure various properties of the selected rendering engine. For example, in both cases, you can enable the Developer Tools by ticking the "DeveloperTools" option. This will allow users to access the Developer Tools directly in the ebook by right-clicking on the webpage they wish to inspect.


Remember to save your project settings after making any changes to the rendering engine or its properties.


Choosing the right rendering engine for your project depends on your specific needs and the nature of your ebook / publication. Consider the trade-offs between file size, and system dependencies when making your decision.