Posts Tagged

WebKit

Web standards are an ever-evolving entity, with new syntax and functions being added all the time. The buzzwords of the year are HTML5 and CSS3, evolutions of the already-existing languages that most people are familiar with. Unfortunately, getting a function added to the standards is only half the battle; you also need browsers to support the function and the new syntax, or all you’re left with is something that is theoretically awesome.

For a while now, WebKit has been the most standards-compliant browser engine, with Safari and Chrome offering two of the most HTML5 and CSS3 ready browsers. Many other browsers use the WebKit engine, and today I’d like to look at what the benefits might be of a WebKit-dominated Internet.

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Look back six years ago, to the year 2005, and the Web is a different place. The Browser Wars are still raging, and while Netscape is putting up a valiant fight, Microsoft and Internet Explorer are looking more and more invincible. It looks like the Web will fall to the evil Empire, and there’s little that anyone can do to stop it.

And then, on June 7, 2005, Bertrand Serlet stepped onto the stage at WWDC and announced something no one really saw coming — the soul of Apple’s little upstart browser, Safari, was being open sourced. And it was called WebKit. Apple was once again trying to give Microsoft a run for their money, and they were going about it in a totally different way then anyone would’ve expected.

Think about it for a second. Apple is a notoriously secretive company. Why would they want to oversee an open source software project? To answer that question — and to properly judge how successful this open source endeavor has been — we have to take a look back at WebKit’s roots. But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t touch on what WebKit is becoming today, and where it could be heading tomorrow. Knowledge of the past is important, because it helps us understand the present — and to better prepare for the future.

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