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Google forks WebKit with new 'Blink' rendering engine for Chrome

post #1 of 134
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Google on Wednesday announced it will be forking the Apple-backed WebKit to create Blink, a rendering engine that will power the search giant's Chromium initiative, and consequently the Chrome Web browser, moving forward.

In a post to the official Chromium Project blog, Google said the decision to build out its own open source engine was driven by the fact that Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit browsers, making development an increasingly cumbersome task as both systems become more complex.

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The Blink HTML rendering engine is based on the Apple-built WebKit and will reportedly bring speed improvements to the various iterations of Chrome, such as the Chrome desktop browser for Mac.

"This was not an easy decision," wrote Google Software Engineer Adam Barth. "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."

According to Google Product Manager for the Open Web Platform team Alex Komoroske, and Vice President of Engineering Linus Upson, who spoke with TechCrunch on Tuesday, the move to create Blink was a result of the engineering teams feeling constrained with the complexity of the WebKit ecosystem. Komoroske explained that integrating Google's workflow with those of other WebKit partners was ?slowing everybody down.?

For now, Web developers won't see much of a difference with Blink, as Google plans to work on "internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase" in the short term. The company said it will initially remove 7 build systems and cull of over 7,000 files to yield a "healthier codebase" with less bugs.

WebKit, which Blink forks, is itself an Apple fork of the KHTML engine. Apple used WebKit to power the Safari Web browser and subsequently took the engine open source in 2005. Since then, Google used the architecture in Chrome and now holds a majority of WebKit's reviewers, with Apple coming in second, followed by Blackberry, Intel, Nokia, Samsung and Adobe, among others.

It remains to be seen how Blink will change the Web development landscape, but some who were worried that the Web would become a WebKit "monoculture" see the change as an innovation driver. Opera, which recently announced it would be dropping its Presto engine for WebKit, chimed in with a statement to CNet, saying it will back Google's initiative.

"I know a lot of people worried that there would be less diversity on the Web once Opera Presto was retired, and the forking of WebKit into Blink restores that balance. Opera will be contributing to Blink in future," said Opera developer evangelist Bruce Lawson. "My personal feeling (not representing my employer, wife, children or hamster) is that Blink has a lot of promise for the Web. Its architecture allows for greater speed -- something that Opera and Google have long focused on."
post #2 of 134

Sounds evil-ish to me 

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post #3 of 134

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 7/23/13 at 2:29pm
post #4 of 134

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Edited by MacRulez - 7/23/13 at 2:28pm
post #5 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Actually, as with other KDE projects, the original KHTML was also open source, under the LGPL, going back as far as 1999 if not earlier.

When Apple forked KHTML, they only released the core parts as required under the LGPL, specifically WebCore and JavaScriptCore. It was only two years after the release of Safari where Apple released the rest (under the BSD license), such as the development components and the debugger.
post #6 of 134

Google, again, making moves that are not in the best interest of consumers of developers. Now web developers have to test for yet another rendering engine, just when things were starting to get standardized under webkit. Pretty ridiculous, and frankly, disgusting. 

post #7 of 134

"For now, Web developers won't see much of a difference with Blink, as Google plans to work on "internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase" in the short term."

 

It's not easy to strip all the private data out of your computer without slowing it down, but Google's "internal architectural improvements" will "git 'er done!"

post #8 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

When Apple forked KHTML, they only released the core parts as required under the LGPL, specifically WebCore and JavaScriptCore. It was only two years after the release of Safari where Apple released the rest (under the BSD license), such as the development components and the debugger.

The initial release of Safari used a closed-source version of WebKit, not open-sourced as it eventually became. That's the difference.
post #9 of 134
I love and hate this announcement.

Love it because it will drive innovation, but hate it because it may have a serious impact on the continued evolution of WebKit. How will work done on Blink make its way into WebKit and vice-versa, or is this another splitting of the ways for Google? If Google was already one of the largest contributors to WebKit (so most likely all of those people will be moving to Blink), why did it become too complicated for them? Didn't they have the manpower and influence to manage the direction it went in?

Google can fork off with Blink for all I care! 1wink.gif

(In case there's any doubt, this is going to have a significant impact on the web rendering engine landscape. Companies will choose to contribue to one or the other, not both.)
post #10 of 134
Meanwhile Mozilla just announced another new rendering engine too, in cooperation with Samsung of all things. Meanwhile Gecko also remains in use, and MS continues to push yet-another-flavor of IE.

Web developers had some light at the end of the fragmentation tunnel, but it's flickering out!
post #11 of 134
Quote:
I love and hate this announcement. Love it because it will drive innovation, but hate it because it may have a serious impact on the continued evolution of WebKit. How will work done on Blink make its way into WebKit and vice-versa, or is this another splitting of the ways for Google?
http://www.chromium.org/blink
post #12 of 134
Time will tell what Google's intentions really are, and it could be healthy -- for now I'll keep an open mind...
post #13 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This was not an easy decision," wrote Google Software Engineer Adam Barth. "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."
 


What a bunch of canned-template-response bullsh!t this is.  I guess Google missed the old PC days of different browsers having different demands and requirements and nothing worked seamlessly.

Not too long down the road, we'll have websites saying "Google Webkit required to view site" crap.  Shame on them.

post #14 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Meanwhile Mozilla just announced another new rendering engine too, in cooperation with Samsung of all things. Meanwhile Gecko also remains in use, and MS continues to push yet-another-flavor of IE.

Web developers had some light at the end of the fragmentation tunnel, but it's flickering out!

Yeah, "fragmentation" is such an awful thing. Too bad we can't go back to those halcyon days of the early 2000s when almost everyone used IE. Those were great days for web design, let me tell you!

post #15 of 134
1) I think it was not 2 months ago I suggested this might happen.

2) I think some are reading too much into this forking. It will not bring us back to the dark ages of web browsing. There is no reason to expect Google to alter WebKit in ways that do not support the modern and future web.
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/3/13 at 5:16pm

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post #16 of 134
To all you 'apparent' web devs; suck it up!

Seriously, part of your job is cross browser testing. This is a great thing to drive innovation in the space we work. A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that.

Very keen to see what google does with Blink and what features it brings to desktop and mobile (both iOS and Android)
post #17 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

To all you 'apparent' web devs; suck it up!

Seriously, part of your job is cross browser testing. This is a great thing to drive innovation in the space we work. A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that.

Very keen to see what google does with Blink and what features it brings to desktop and mobile (both iOS and Android)

Saying that the open source WebKit somehow creates a monopoly is like saying that HTML5 creates a monopoly.

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post #18 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Saying that the open source WebKit somehow creates a monopoly is like saying that HTML5 creates a monopoly.

 

Considering Webkit is software, and HTML5 is, in practice, a collection of languages.. i would say you're wrong. 

post #19 of 134
This is excellent news for the likes of Safari, Opera, GNOME Epiphany, Qt variants and more. How come? Because the amount of superfluous crap Google has been screwing with shows they know how to create bloat.

It's another reason Apple and a solid team of industry professionals have lockdown on the direction of LLVM/Clang/LLDB/Compiler-RT, etc.

The amount of crap code that the likes of so many large corporations wanting to just dump ideas into LLVM/Clang gets smacked back with a shot of reality and a staging process of several months before they get signed off on.

WebKit2 is a beautiful architecture. It inherently benefits from the MVC model championed since the foundings of NeXT.

There is a reason Safari on iOS is a much higher quality based browser than the junk on Android.
post #20 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

To all you 'apparent' web devs; suck it up!

Seriously, part of your job is cross browser testing. This is a great thing to drive innovation in the space we work. A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that.

In theory, that makes sense.

In practice, however, think about the days when IE was the standard. I had to keep 3 different browsers on my system to just be sure that any given site would work on at least one of them.
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post #21 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

Considering Webkit is software, and HTML5 is, in practice, a collection of languages.. i would say you're wrong. 

Let's imagine that WebKit was the only rendering engine out there why would you have a problem with it since it can be updated, changed or forked by anyone at any time (read the article). This not the same issue we had with Trident.

PS: If you want to make your own webcode to compete with HTML you are more than welcome to do so.

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post #22 of 134

Will Google make Blink open source too? 

post #23 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Let's imagine that WebKit was the only rendering engine out there why would you have a problem with it since it can be updated, changed or forked by anyone at any time (read the article). This not the same issue we had with Trident.

PS: If you want to make your own webcode to compete with HTML you are more than welcome to do so.

 

 

you would have a problem because it has no competition, no competition leads to lack of innovation. Don't think for a second that just because something is Open Source that it's going to be innovative.. just look at open office!
post #24 of 134

As a web developer, I can say, without a doubt: FML.

post #25 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

To all you 'apparent' web devs; suck it up!

Seriously, part of your job is cross browser testing. This is a great thing to drive innovation in the space we work. A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that.

Very keen to see what google does with Blink and what features it brings to desktop and mobile (both iOS and Android)

 

How the **** is webkit a "monopoly"? That's like saying, HTML/CSS is a monopoly, and should also have competition with other languages, as that will "drive innovation",- you can apply this to other standards that have made technology more interoperable, compatible, stable, and easier to develop for. There are some technologies on the backend that EVERYONE benefits from while being standardized, especially consumers. Your analogy holds absolutely no water, webkit is not stifling anything. If Google wanted to improve it, they can easily contribute to it instead of forking it into something else. How exactly does anyone benefit from having websites that are rendered differently on different browsers, or when developers have to make time consuming customizations for every rendering engine out there? Consumers shouldn't have to CARE what browser they're using, its not something they should need to worry about, and we were nearing that point. If Apple did this people would be screaming bloody mary, but because it's Google, people like you justify it under the guide of "innovation", when in reality this has nothing to do with benefitting consumers, and everything to do with some alternate agenda they have. 

post #26 of 134
I guess the world was starting to get too easy...
post #27 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

Considering Webkit is software, and HTML5 is, in practice, a collection of languages.. i would say you're wrong. 

Actually you're wrong. Any real web developer would know that.
post #28 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


Actually you're wrong. Any real web developer would know that.

oooooo.. burn!

 

but read what i said, 'in practice' it is :)  

 

and still, the point is, you can bitch and moan all you want.. Google, Apple, Opera, Microsoft are not here to make your life easier. Suck it up. 

post #29 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

 

How the **** is webkit a "monopoly"? That's like saying, HTML/CSS is a monopoly, and should also have competition with other languages, as that will "drive innovation",- you can apply this to other standards that have made technology more interoperable, compatible, stable, and easier to develop for. There are some technologies on the backend that EVERYONE benefits from while being standardized, especially consumers. Your analogy holds absolutely no water, webkit is not stifling anything. If Google wanted to improve it, they can easily contribute to it instead of forking it into something else. How exactly does anyone benefit from having websites that are rendered differently on different browsers, or when developers have to make time consuming customizations for every rendering engine out there? Consumers shouldn't have to CARE what browser they're using, its not something they should need to worry about, and we were nearing that point. If Apple did this people would be screaming bloody mary, but because it's Google, people like you justify it under the guide of "innovation", when in reality this has nothing to do with benefitting consumers, and everything to do with some alternate agenda they have. 

Here's a thought, go back and read what i wrote again - "A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that"

Never said it was... 

 

also, FYI; monopoly (from Greek monos μόνος (alone or single) + polein πωλεῖν (to sell)) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity

 

So technically, yes, HTML and CSS have a monopoly. 

post #30 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

Here's a thought, go back and read what i wrote again - "A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that"

Never said it was... 

 

also, FYI; monopoly (from Greek monos μόνος (alone or single) + polein πωλεῖν (to sell)) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity

 

So technically, yes, HTML and CSS have a monopoly. 

 

So? Monopolies aren't always bad. 

 

A webkit monopoly would be nice, because little do you know, testing, hacking, twisting, and working between rendering engines is terrible. Also, no competition does not mean no innovation. While competition can be a major component of innovation, they're fundamentally different. Without competitors HTML and CSS were able to create some great things with recent evolutions. 

Also, don't forget that webkit is opened source, so as people begin evolving parts of it for their needs, they can be merged back into the core evolving it for the whole. Trident, which was close sourced, only evolved as a single entity saw fit. 

post #31 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Werner View Post

http://www.chromium.org/blink

Thanks for the link to the Blink info. Your subtle hint to read before commenting is taken. hahaha. It was very informative, and feels like WebKit will benefit from the work that Blink does. There can be a sharing of advances in both directions. Blink gives the Google engineers the freedom to make major changes. But my concern about WebKit's base of developers suddenly being halved in size is worrying still.
post #32 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Google, again, making moves that are not in the best interest of consumers of developers. Now web developers have to test for yet another rendering engine, just when things were starting to get standardized under webkit. Pretty ridiculous, and frankly, disgusting. 

 

Rubbish. It will be far better for consumers and the web in general. It will be more work for developers but if they stick to standards it won't be bad. With this move the good outweighs the bad like Adele outweighs Taylor Swift.

 

-kpluck

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post #33 of 134
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Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

I am just grateful to never visit a site anymore that says "Internet Explorer is required to view this site". Usually because of their use of Active X or something like that only available on Windows. As long as us Mac folks can continue to surf without being penalized as years ago I am all for speed and diversity of choice.

BECU, in Seattle, says you have to have IE to view your mortgage information. Can you believe that?

 

If you complain, they give you a workaround so that you can use other browsers. 

 

It's BS and extremely lame.

post #34 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Google, again, making moves that are not in the best interest of consumers of developers. Now web developers have to test for yet another rendering engine, just when things were starting to get standardized under webkit. Pretty ridiculous, and frankly, disgusting. 

You, again, rant without understanding the issue.

Pretty ridiculous, and frankly, disgusting.
post #35 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Sounds evil-ish to me 

Nope. It is Google wanting more direct control of the technologies that are important to them. Nothing else.

It is a smart move.
post #36 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieLeSouef View Post

Here's a thought, go back and read what i wrote again - "A monopoly stifles inovation and webkit was drawing close to that"

Never said it was... 

 

also, FYI; monopoly (from Greek monos μόνος (alone or single) + polein πωλεῖν (to sell)) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity

 

So technically, yes, HTML and CSS have a monopoly. 

 

I like this guy.

 

In five posts he's insulted, not only three regular contributing posters on this forum, but a shitload of web developers. 1wink.gif

 

/S

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post #37 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

You, again, rant without understanding the issue.

Pretty ridiculous, and frankly, disgusting.

And, yet, you weren't able to refute anything he said.

His main premise is that the web was finally settling down into good interoperability where sites could be counted on to work on all browsers. Splitting Webkit endangers that position - and could conceivably take us back to the days when you needed to use several different browsers because so many sites only worked on one browser.

So exactly what is wrong with his statement?
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post #38 of 134

Can someone with relevant expertise in this field comment on Google's decision to fork WebKit?

 

Since Google and Apple are competitors in this space, my knee-jerk reaction is to suspect that this is some kind of power play against Apple.  However, there could be a legitimate reason, from a technical standpoint, that I don't know of.

 

Anyone care to share?

post #39 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Rubbish. It will be far better for consumers and the web in general. It will be more work for developers but if they stick to standards it won't be bad. With this move the good outweighs the bad like Adele outweighs Taylor Swift.

-kpluck

The point which you keep ignoring is that currently, there is (effectively) a single set of standards that developers needs to follow. Forking Webkit creates the risk that there will be multiple sets of standards which adds complexity.

Given how badly Android is fragmented and all the problems caused by that fragmentation, it is quite reasonable for someone to not want the same thing to happen to html.
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post #40 of 134
Don't blink. Blink and your dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't Blink.
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