Forking WebKit! Google Blink makes Chrome Web angels weep...

Google forks WebKit browser engine. Say 'hello' to Blink.

Google Blink for Chrome and Opera

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is parting company with the KHTML-based engine in Chrome—also used by Apple Safari and others. The reason given is that it's too difficult to manage all the special-cases and dependencies.

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As Rome burns, Martyn Williams reports, look-you:

There could be big changes coming to...fiddly and sometimes annoying Web browsing...on cellphones. ... Google introduced a new open-source engine. ... The browser engine lies at the core of a Web the choice of engine directly affects the user experience..


Blink [is] a variant of the open-source WebKit engine [which] forms the basis for the current Chromium browser...but Google said it was getting harder to use. ... [It] will also form the base of the Opera Web browser.  MORE

Neil McAllister adds colo[u]r:

Past versions of Chrome have rendered web content using WebKit, the same open source rendering engine that powers Apple's Safari. ... But Chrome never used WebKit in quite the same way that Safari did. ... The need to maintain a WebKit code base that worked with Chrome's approach as well as those of other browsers has made [the two] projects increasingly complex...which in turn has slowed down the pace of development.


Among the ideas Google has mooted...include faster interaction between the DOM and JavaScript...better sandboxing [and] code rewrites to improve performance [making] better use of multiple processor cores. ... Like the rest of the Chromium project, Blink will remain open source.  MORE

So Google's Adam Barth says, "This was not an easy decision":

Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture [leading] to increasing today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.


In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. ... Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs. ...we’ve set strong guidelines...which emphasize standards, interoperability, conformance testing and transparency.  MORE

And Opera's Bruce Lawson weeps, angelicly:

It’s great to be able to talk publicly about Blink.


My personal feeling (not representing my employer, wife, children or hamster) is that Blink has a lot of promise. ... When browsers are fast and interoperable, using the web as a platform becomes more competitive against native app development. ... It’s also great that there will be no more vendor prefixes in Blink [which] were like Morrissey’s solo career: on paper, a good idea – but in reality, a horrible mess.  MORE

But Google's Alex Russell tells us what he did on his Christmas holidays:

May the deities we’ve invented forgive us for the tripe we’re about to sell each other as “news”.


...going faster matters. ... Directness of action matters, and when you’re swimming through build files for dozens of platforms you don’t work on, that’s a step away from directness. ... When landing a patch in both WebKit and Chromium stretches into a multi-day dance of flags, stub implementations, and dep-rolls, that’s many steps away.


If there is wisdom in the Chrome team, it is that these projects are not only recognized as important, but the very best engineers volunteer to take them on. ... [Blink] will allow us to iterate faster, working through the annealing process that takes a good idea from drawing refined feature.  MORE

Meanwhile, Jeff Atwood is horrified... oh, wait:

I think Blink is a great idea. WebKit monoculture is bad for the web.  MORE

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