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Google Fork Webkit, Announce Project ‘Blink’ for Chrome

The Chromium team today announced a new rendering engine for the project called Blink.

As a fork of WebKit, Blink will still be mostly the same, bringing “little change for web developers” for the time being. So why fork a popular, ever-growing rendering engine?

Chromium uses a “multi-process architecture” to keep the browser from crashing when sites and plugins misbehave, but the differences between architectures across the growing number of WebKit-based browsers means slower turn around for new features to be implemented. With a leaner codebase and faster pace of development, the Chromium team hope to “spur innovation” in rendering engines much like the browser space has seen in recent years.

“Keeping the Chrome bits separate from Webkit bits was getting in the way of performance and security improvements.” – Jake Archibald

Though the short term will mostly be housekeeping to winnow the codebase, the longer term prospects of the project are promising. Amongst the slew of performance enhancements and lower-level cleanup is the removal of “webkit-” style prefixes. Blink will instead make use of the “enable experimental web platform features” flag for experimental CSS previously littering stylesheets alongside Mozilla and Opera-specific prefixes.

Whilst the Chromium project embark on a new rendering engine endeavour, Mozilla and Samsung have also announced a mobile-oriented rendering engine, and Opera recently announced their move to WebKit, and now thusly Blink, as well.

Whether or not these decisions influenced the other projects isn’t as important as the fact that the world of rendering engines is buzzing with activity.

  • I’m a little confused by the article. For one thing, WebKit2 already has a multiprocess model. What does Google want to do differently than Apple?

    Also, I don’t see any evidence that Opera is moving to Blink. Where are you getting that info?

    • Aidan Cheddar

      We’ll find out in the long term.

    • Austin Wang

      Google doen’t want to be latched onto Apple (and possibly a lot of other companies) for future chrome releases

      • I get that, I just want to know what they want to do differently.

        • Apple supports Safari on OSX only (Windows version discontinued)…so they are not contributing to Webkit for Windows…Google is the 99% on that one. Apple also takes a LONG time to update their browser…even the OSX version (security and minor updates take 4-8 months, while major releases take 2 years or more.) Google releases Chrome typically every 4-8 weeks so WebKit not keeping up with their cycle only hurts Chrome so this way they can make sure that the browser and the engine are on par.

        • Austin Wang

          Primarily, they want to streamline the code and make it more optimized for Chrome. Plus, they want to rewrite the javascript DOM completely in javascript. And there’s lots more—just look at the blink official webpage

  • As long as they don’t go all Internet Exploder and think they don’t have to comply with the web standards, this could be good news.

    • ‘Internet exploder’ lol

      • Isn’t that what every web developer calls it? :P

        • yes…well it used to be…now we use a plethora of names to express our frustration and hatred… “please dIE”, “crIEs”, etc.

          • “Kill it with a Trident!”? :P
            Trident: IE’s rendering engine
            Trident: A giant fork

          • sure…or “4 out of 5 Developers, recommend avoiding Trident” (gum/browser joke) – the one that doesn’t works at Microsoft.

          • CJ Holder

            Trident: The UKs nuclear weapons programme.

    • daniel brenha

      is that still around?

  • Aidan Cheddar

    Yay! Competition.

  • jose Mendoza

    I would like to see an open source version of this, perhaps midori or some new browser can take advantage of that.

  • madjr

    so could the ubuntu-touch devs have a change of heart about the engine they will use for their browser and switch to this?

  • trusktr

    Hopefully Blink is 100% hardware accelerated on capable devices.

  • So I will no longer be able to say something like “WebKit FTW!” in near future as “Blink FTW!” sounds totally wrong xD