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Apple Unveils WebKit2 for Next Generation Browsers

Gordon Kelly

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Apple Unveils WebKit2 for Next Generation Browsers

Didn't think Apple was finished after iPhone OS 4.0 did ya?

Late last night the company also quietly revealed 'Webkit2', a new version of the core browsing architecture behind Safari 4, Chrome and most mobile phone browsers including those in iPhone OS, Android, Symbian and soon BlackBerry. This being Apple, the new build is an incompatible API change from its predecessor, but it will be made available to all Webkit-based browsers.

"This is a heads-up that we will shortly start landing patches for a new WebKit framework that we at Apple have been working on for a while," said Apple's Anders Carlsson and Sam Weinig. "We currently call this new framework "WebKit2". WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it."

"Currently WebKit2 is available for Mac and Windows, and we would gladly accept patches to add more ports," they added.

How will it differ from Chrome's existing split process (sandboxing) system? In short it lifts the process boundaries above the API boundary, this means the functionality is easier for other companies to use in their iterations

"WebKit2 has a different goal {to Chrome} - we want process management to be part of what is provided by WebKit itself, so that it is easy for any application to use," says the Webkit Open Source Project. "We would like chat clients, mail clients, twitter clients, and all the creative applications that people build with WebKit to be able to take advantage of this technology. We believe this is fundamentally part of what a web content engine should provide."

Whether Google and others choose to implement these changes to Webkit in their browsers remains to be seen, but it seems likely since the company is always banging on about universal Web standards. It is also good to see Apple mucking in with the development of open source projects.

Availability? Webkit2 is currently considered "an early technology demo" so won't be integrated into Safari or Chrome for a while yet. that said, it is likely to be the launch pad for the next generation of web browsers and Apple has been fundamental in making it happen. Nice one Cupertino.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and scrape flying pig off my windows.

Links:

Webkit2 Announcement

WebKit2 High Level Document

MrGodfrey

April 9, 2010, 9:03 pm

Did I just read "Apple" and "Open source" in the same sentence?


I guess it really is a new day. All I can say is, well done Apple.

stephenallred

April 9, 2010, 9:37 pm

Webkit has always been open source.

xenos

April 9, 2010, 11:09 pm

"I need to go and scrape flying pig off my windows."





If you had written 'Windows' it would have been even funnier ;)

Gordon394

April 10, 2010, 1:00 am

@Stephen - yes, but the adjustment Apple made could have been proprietary and kept just for itself. That it didn't do that and in fact made changes that make it easier for rival browsers to implement the functionality it added is of credit to it.

LostHawk

April 10, 2010, 3:15 pm

WebKit'1' is under GPL:


http://webkit.org/coding/lgpl-...


So, unless I missed something, they had to publish the sources.

Stefan752

April 10, 2010, 3:56 pm

@Gordon


Yes, they could have kept it proprietary, I guess, but that's not what their track record has been particularly with web browsers.





Anyway, Apple have contributed tons to the many open source components that make up OSX. Webkit is just one of the few where Apple is the lead developer, and so it's one of the more publicly noticed.





Lastly, it does sort of give Apple the opportunity to rub Google's face in it a little. Google spent all this time doing something, now Apple have come along and superseded it in one fell swoop. And since it's now built into the core of Webkit, it'll probably work much better and much quicker.

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