WebKit Browser Engine is what makes the Internet happen for you. Browser giants like Google and Apple use the open source WebKit to allow their browsers render webpages. At least Apple is, because apparently Google is dropping WebKit for Blink within 10 weeks.
According to Adam Barth, a Google software engineer involved in the Chromium project, the Chromium software uses a different multi-process architecture that has grown in complexity over the years and has WebKit is not as well suited to support its progress anymore, which leads to the need of a new engine that will accommodate the new multi-architecture and improve the innovation pace.
Switching to Blink
Blink is the name for the new web rendering engine that will replace WebKit for Chrome. Blink is an open-source forked version of Webkit, so the engines won’t be too different and web developers don’t need to work too hard to support Chrome, along with other browsers using different rendering engines.
Adam Barth says that one of the benefits of switching to Blink is that it should make at least 7,000 files unnecessary and remove them from Chrome, leading to healthier code and less bulkiness.
What is Fork?
Just in case you are not aware what a fork means, Wikipedia describes it well: “In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software.” In other words, Blink is something that developers came up with while working on WebKit specifically for the Chromium project, which makes it a very ideal switch by Google since it is a WebKit customized for their browser.
Web Development Concerns
Amongst the reasons why the switch to Blink was not easy is because Chrome is one of the major browsers and by switching, it puts pressure on developers to make their websites supported by all the browsers with their own engines that have different requirements. However Adam said they “believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and overtime improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.”
One of the big browsers, Opera, had announced on February that it was moving away from its proprietary rendering engine, Presto, and switching to WebKit. Except when Google blogged its switch to Blink, Opera simply pledged support for Chromium and revealed that they will also follow Google and adopt Blink.
Some More Browser News
Apparently Google isn’t the only one with big dreams of innovation. Samsung and Mozilla also announced their partnership to develop a mobile browser engine that makes use of multi-core devices. Their browser engine is called Servo and it will be using a new programming language: Rust.
Engines used by the 5 Big Browsers
Safari – Webkit
Chrome – Blink
Firefox – Gecko
Internet Explorer – Trident
Opera – Presto (moving to Blink or WebKit)