Apple's WebKit2 Coming Soon, Will Offer 'Sandboxing' of Processes

094441 webkit

Apple engineers Anders Carlsson and Sam Weinig yesterday announced the forthcoming release of a new web framework known as "WebKit2" that will build upon the existing engine that powers the company's Safari browser as well as a number of other browser applications including Google Chrome. Notably, WebKit2 will support running various browser elements in different processes, "sandboxing" them to prevent problems with a single element from crashing the entire browser.

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.

The team behind WebKit2 has also posted documentation outlining some of the changes coming in WebKit2 and how its split process model differs from that used in Chromium and Google Chrome, building the functionality directly into the framework rather than putting it in the application layer where considerable work would be required for porting or reusing the functionality.

CNET notes that Apple's announcement has ruffled some feathers in the WebKit community, as it is being seen as rolling out a major revamp of the engine without the input of the rest of the community. Apple's Maciej Stachowiak responded to the criticism, noting that existing ports will continue to work and that the new tools are in a very early stage that is appropriate for review and discussion by the community.

We picked the name "WebKit2" in the hopes of picking something really bland. Apparently that backfired, because it seems to make this project seem like a bigger deal than it is. Basically, you can think of this as a new port-specific API [application programming interface]. But we're trying to put some general mechanisms in this API, so other ports can use it if they choose. We are also welcoming input from the whole WebKit community on the design, architecture and direction of this work. It is at a very early stage, barely enough that you can build a trivial demo browser on top of it. We decided that our proof of concept was far enough along at that point that we should make the code public for community review and input.

Initial versions of WebKit2 have been developed for Mac and Windows, and the developers invite others to submit patches for additional ports.

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
iPad Air 12

Gurman: No Apple Event Planned for Upcoming iPads and Macs

Sunday March 3, 2024 5:09 am PST by
Apple does not plan to hold a traditional event to unveil new iPads and Macs, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Instead, he said Apple plans to announce the products on its website with a "series of online videos and marketing campaigns." If this plan is accurate, we can expect the new products to be announced with press releases on the Apple Newsroom website. Gurman expects Apple to...