WebKit devs to purge Chrome-specific code as Google goes with Blink

The browser war of the early 2000s has died down to a certain extent, but looks like the browser engine battle is just about beginning. Yesterday, Google announced that it would be forking the WebKit engine to create a homegrown Blink browser engine for Chrome that will supposedly be based on a more streamlined code.

Opera, which relies heavily on the Google features in WebKit will also be migrating to Blink for their browser. However, it seems WebKit is not entirely pleased with this development. With Google pulling out of the development, those who are currently maintaining WebKit are planning a salvo to erase all Google-related code from the engine. "Since we no longer need to support the Chromium port, let's take the opportunity to streamline. Hopefully, this will make development easier and more coherent for everyone," Apple's Geoffrey Garen said in a missive to the WebKit development mailing list.

Google Chrome

WebKit developers will no longer support Google's Chromium project


Portions of WebKit that are being considered for deletion include almost all of the code specific to Chrome. This includes parts of WebKit that integrate with Google's V8 JavaScript engine, Skia graphics library, and support for the Google-URL library. Also likely to be on the chopping block are page rendering and layout test cases specific to the Chrome browser.

Another interesting development thanks to Google backing away from WebKit is that Apple's Safari browser for iOS and OS X will be the most prominent one using WebKit. It also means that Apple will, to a large extent, be single-handedly leading development of the WebKit engine.

Of course, Apple is not the only company relying on or developing for WebKit. Adobe, Nokia, Intel, BlackBerry and Samsung all produce software that rely on WebKit, and also contribute to the development project. While Apple's main WebKit association is for the browser, it cannot go ahead and delete code right away. BlackBerry uses the Skia graphics library and Samsung uses the V8 engine, both of which are on the chopping block, so to speak. This is perhaps why Apple has to open the floor for discussion about a possible code cleanup that may affect other companies.

Apple, Google and Opera are not the only ones in the news for their browser engines. Last week, Samsung and Mozilla announced a partnership to develop a newer engine for a browser for Android. Called Servo, the new engine will supposedly bring a more fun and secure experience for users. According to Mozilla, Servo is geared towards running smoothly on modern hardware and will be optimised for multi-core computing.

Published Date: Apr 08, 2013 09:23 am | Updated Date: Apr 08, 2013 09:23 am