Google’s Chromium project just introduced a new open-source rendering engine based on WebKit.
When Google launched Chrome back in 2008, it incorporated the WebKit open source rendering engine.
“However, Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years had led to increasingly complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects,” Google software engineer Adam Barth writes on the Chromium blog. “This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation – so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.”
Now, Google is forking WebKit and has created a new open source rendering engine called Blink.
The goal is to make Web development more efficient and faster, and also spur innovation by having multiple rendering engines.
“To make a better platform faster, you must be able to iterate faster,” Chrome developer Alex Russell writes on his blog. “Steps away form that are steps away from a better platform. Today’s WebKit defeats that imperative in ways large and small.”
There’s lots of jargon in Google’s FAQ, so technical analyst and consultant Rob Isaac offered a translation. Among other things, Isaac argues that this was purely a political move, not a technical one. Since Apple and Google currently share the same rendering engine, developers don’t need to do much to ensure Chrome compatibility on OS X and iOS.
But the implementations of WebKit in Safari and Chrome are not the same, meaning that they already should have been considered as separate testing targets, developer Peter Beverloo writes.
“By sharing the code base, we gain certain efficiencies,” Google VP of Engineering for Chrome Linus Upson told CNET’s Stephen Shankland. “We only wanted to do this if the net efficiency gain would be positive for everyone.”