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Google, Opera Dumping WebKit for New Blink Browser Standard

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Google and Opera had announced that they will be moving their browsers away from the open source WebKit rendering standard to the new forked, Google-developed Blink standard in the future. The move would affect Google Chrome browser, Chrome OS, and the Opera browser.

“This was not an easy decision,” Google writes in its blog. “We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.”

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According to the Chrome-maker, the move away from WebKit is because Chromium “uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects.” As such, Google is developing its own Blink standard, which will also be an open source rendering engine that’s based on WebKit.

However, unlike WebKit, Google will be selective about the developers it chooses to work with.

It’s unclear if the move away from WebKit has a political nature. WebKit’s origins came from within Apple before the firm decided to open source the development engine. Since then, it’s been powering some of the most popular browsers on the Internet, including Safari, mobile Safari on iOS, the Android browser, the BlackBerry 10 browser, and others. With Google standardizing on the mobile Chrome browser on the most recent builds of Android, rather than relying on the Android browser, Blink will make its way into Android as well.

For Internet surfers and web developers, the move to Blink will have little change or noticeable impact. Most of the changes will be under the hood and Blink will try to streamline the architecture. By removing unnecessary codes, Google says that this will lead to improved stability for browsers.

Competing Internet Explorer by Microsoft relies on the Trident engine while Mozilla’s Firefox browser uses Gecko, rather than Webkit. Opera, which had recently switched from its Presto rendering engine to Webkit, had recently confirmed to The Next Web that it would follow Google’s lead to adopt the forked WebKit version known as Blink.

 

Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.

4 Comments

  1. giantslor

    04/04/2013 at 11:32 am

    No, WebKit’s origins don’t come from Apple. WebKit was forked from the KHTML and KJS libraries from the KDE project.

  2. raghuram028Ragz028

    04/06/2013 at 11:23 am

    I don’t get it, why proper research is not made before making statements like, ‘webkit came from apple’ – reflects poorly on the author.

    • atomic1fire

      04/09/2013 at 5:32 pm

      Also calling it a standard when it’s a rendering engine is wrong.

      Not only does it encourage developers to develop for webkit only, it creates a source of confusion. It could be a de facto standard, but between all the versions of webkit out there and devices that use webkit as a backend, there’s going to be some incompatibility between all implementations, especially since Chrome opted to create it’s own javascript engine, V8, and Apple used Javascriptcore. There are different versions of the webkit software, and there aren’t independent implementations, simply forks and copies of the webkit code.

      Blink is a fork of the webkit code, in the same way that webkit is a fork of the Khtml code from kde.

      Blink will remove vendor prefixes, so you wouldn’t even need to add -webkit-whatever, just use the generic css. Which should make web development a lot easier.

      Generic Css, such as “Background-image”, is the standard, not “-webkit-background-image”, “-o-background-image”, “-ms-background-image” or “-moz-background-image”.

      Mislabeling the engines themselves as standards is dangerous and stupid. The idea is that there are independent implementations, and then a generic standard that should work on everything when the specification is better supported.

      The ideal practice is to use all the browser specific implementations, but add a vendor neutral setting as well so that in the future, the stylesheet will work the same.

      tl;dr Css works by having vender specific prefixes, but also having the generic version to cover everything at once, the generic parts are the standard, the vender specific parts are just implementations or prototypes.

  3. Max

    04/18/2013 at 12:56 pm

    Opera and Google finally “Think different”

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