Google Forking WebKit to Create New Web Rendering Engine for Chrome

Google announced today that the company is forking the WebKit rendering engine to create its own web rendering engine called 'Blink'. Google had been the using Apple-initiated WebKit project to power its Chrome web browser. Future versions, however, will now be based on this new system.

Google is now free to make changes to its rendering engine with less complexity and bureaucracy than when it was saving its changes to Webkit. The company posted this on its FAQ explaining why it wanted to create a new engine:

The main reason is that Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers. So, over the years, supporting multiple architectures has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium communities, slowing down the collective pace of innovation.

With the change, Google has set Chrome and Apple's Safari on their own paths. Webkit was originally created by Apple as a fork to the KHTML rendering engine. Apple took interest in developing it when launching Safari for the Mac, and it now powers Safari for iOS, as well.

WebKit has been heavily adopted with over 20 companies now contributing to the project. Google and Apple, however, have remained the most active contributors to the open-source project.

commits
In fact, Google has been the most active contributor of WebKit in the recent years. This graph from Bitergia (above) shows Google's increasing number of "commits" to WebKit over the years. Google's efforts will now be directed at 'Blink'. Apple has made no public comments about the news.

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Top Rated Comments

Chaszmyr Avatar
146 months ago
So much for the golden age of web standards.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
komodrone Avatar
146 months ago
well then...FORK YOU.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Karma*Police Avatar
146 months ago
Sounds like another attempt by Google to control the keys to the Internet using open source as a veil to their true intentions. It reminds me of when they tried to hijack the video standard with WebM.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maxosx Avatar
146 months ago
This is a good move on Google's part. It will bring enhanced, richer results to all. The mentality at Google is improve, improve, improve. While certainly not perfect, I give them credit for a positive attitude and willingness to take risks.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bubba Satori Avatar
146 months ago
Perfect, this allows Google to implement their own codecs and create their own IE disaster.

Will that be different than the Safari disaster?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannys1 Avatar
146 months ago
Those thinking this is a good thing obviously don't design web sites or know how hard it is to comply with multiple web standards. This just creates more browser fragmentation.

It doesn't improve anything for the end user as solid web designs program features for the least supporter browser up. If IE, Safari, Firefox all do something Chrome doesn't, it wont be used.

This means more of a headache for web designs, it means less people pulling in one direction which was what was so great about webkit and it means Google going against open source really and fragmenting it for their own gain - probably to serve their customers….the advertisers.

So now we're going to have to IE, Webkit, Blink, Servo, Mozilla and any old browsers to keep multiple differing HTML5 standards for…great, this sounds like it'll be fun!
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)