Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 6th Sep 2008 19:56 UTC, submitted by KAMiKAZOW
Internet & Networking

The WebKit team is currently busy, integrating the patches made for Google Chrome into the main WebKit repository. This includes the new V8 JavaScript engine and the Skia graphics library. Most integration work is done by Google employee and WebKit reviewer Eric Seidel. V8 is a fast, BSD licensed JavaScript engine that runs on 32bit x86 and ARM CPUs. Due that platform restriction, V8 probably won't replace WebKit's new SquirrelFish engine anytime soon as default, because SquirrelFish has broader CPU architecture support. Epiphany developer and WebKit reviewer Alp Toker gives an overview about Skia. Unlike V8, Skia is licensed under the Apache License 2.0. Some of Skia's main features are optional OpenGL-based acceleration, thread-safety, 10,000 less lines of code compared to Cairo, and high portability.

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RE: And Mozilla?
by karl on Sun 7th Sep 2008 16:47 UTC in reply to "And Mozilla?"
karl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Unlikely, to say the least.

Webkit is nowhere near as mature as Gecko is. Webkit has some distinct advantages, not the least of which is size, which make it competitive with Gecko. Gecko and Webkit were written in two very different epochs- and their differences show this. Mozilla, which uses Gecko for rendering, is the child of Netscape, and the ecosystem of libraries which constitute Mozilla represents far, far more than Webkit.

Netscape, and hence Mozilla, were targeted at middleware-ie. a platform for software development which was transparent across operating systems and hardware archictecture. The sheer magnitude of this undertaking (code and complexity) has been a difficulty for the modern Firefox and attempts to bring this tech to mobile devices.

Firefox, as a project, was the first attempt to really streamline the legacy of Mozilla, and to isolate some subset of tech's available to make a lean and powerful browser. Currently work is ongoing to streamline Mozilla even more to make it competitve in the mobile space.

Gecko was written within and for the ecosystem of Mozilla libraries-which from the vantage point of those using these libraries is a tremendous plus, but a disadvantage for those wishing to wrap Gecko in foregin UI's. Which is almost the exact opposite of Webkit- Webkit was designed in such a way that it is far easier to embed, far easier to wrap in other languages. XPCOM provides accessibility to Gecko via other languages, and of course Mozilla has been working on providing Gecko in such a way that it can be used outside of the Mozilla ecosystem-yet this work has been slow in the coming(ask the Galeon/epiphany devs), and I think there are many reasons for this.

One of the reasons is that Gecko alone is not all that interesting or valuable-it's value lies in it's integration with other Mozilla tech's(XUL, XPCOM, etc.), whereas Webkit is *merely* a renderer in the first instance. Apple took KHTML to create Webkit, partialy because it was very little work to seperate the rendering part from the GUI parts of the code. Then they wrapped this part in objective-c (Cocoa- Mac users correct me if I am wrong), then Trolltech retook the code and wrapped it in QT, embedding it in QT itself. Then others started wrapping it- ie. GTK.

Webkit, which started out from a tiny code base has blossomed into something that is beginning to grow as large as what Mozilla was 10 years ago. Luckily for Webkit it's design makes it simply to adapt, but only because it never attempted to be everything to everyone which Mozilla was from it's inception.

From a dev perspective Webkit offers a lot of advantages over Gecko. But as a user I still far prefer Gecko over anything else. In much the same way I prefer Firefox over any of it's competitors-Safari has no appeal to me(even if it did run under Linux), neither does Konqueror-as a browser, nor Epiphany. The existence of these other browsers however is something I am very thankful for- they increase the presence of certain standards, they decrease the relevance of IE, and they are a healthy ground for competion-which makes the Web a better place. Webkit is having a huge success right now in the mobile space- this is because the developers are right now creating platforms for these devices. Mozilla, of which Gecko is a part, is already and tremedously powerful platform, unfortunately one not written for tiny computers which simply did not exist when it was written.

And remember Chrome is not simply *using* Webkit, they significantly changed Webkit for V8, even in their comic they talk about how they started with only 23% compatibility with stock Webkit-they say they are now 99% compatible-but that only shows how much hacking they did on Webkit/V8. How many projects/devs are willing to put that time and effort into making Webkit fit their needs? That speaks volumes against the *ease* of Webkit integration.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: And Mozilla?
by 0brad0 on Mon 8th Sep 2008 01:06 in reply to "RE: And Mozilla?"
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

That's funny. Essentially the only project that uses Gekco is Firefox and everyone under the sun is using WebKit. That speaks volumes about how bad Gecko is from a developers perspective. Also the fact that a very large number of developers for Apple, Google and other companies/projects are ex-Firefox developers and they all think WebKit is better in every aspect. WebKit was also the first HTML rendering engine to have full support for ACID2/ACID3 and the best draft HTML5 support. Firefox/Gecko is a complete disaster. It is just another example of people using the "most popular" piece of software but it does nt mean it is good at all.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: And Mozilla?
by FishB8 on Mon 8th Sep 2008 05:16 in reply to "RE[2]: And Mozilla?"
FishB8 Member since:
2006-01-16

That's funny. Essentially the only project that uses Gekco is Firefox and everyone under the sun is using WebKit.


Think again. There are quite a few projects that employ Gecko. Try looking and see how many programs use xulrunner. (That's basically the standalone Gecko library)

Remember, Gecko is much more than just an HTML rendering engine. It's a development platform. Some apps that employ it may have very little in common with a web browser. Take Miro for instance, or SongBird.

Characterizing Gecko as a "disaster" sounds too much like a WebKit fanatic with little insight. WebKit is very good, and improving, and perfect for handheld architectures. But don't write off Gecko. It has it's own advantages in certain areas over Webkit as well. Especially in dealing with XML based technologies for web applications.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: And Mozilla?
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 8th Sep 2008 11:40 in reply to "RE: And Mozilla?"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Webkit is nowhere near as mature as Gecko is.

Let me say that you are a troll. WebKit and Gecko have a different focus (as you laid out) but WebKit is not immature. If it was immature, Adobe, Google, Apple, Nokia, etc. wouldn't use it.

And remember Chrome is not simply *using* Webkit, they significantly changed Webkit for V8

Aw, another lie. V8 is a separate project. As Eric Seidel (Chrome developer) said himself in WebKit's Tracker: "[V8 integration] is going to require a small number of source changes". To integrate that separate project, just the build system was modified in a larger way.
See https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=20619

That speaks volumes against the *ease* of Webkit integration.

To quote one of the linked articles:
WebKit became the obvious solution after talking to fellow engineers working on the Android project. They were already using WebKit (as it is a great option for mobile devices), and they trumpeted its speed, flexibility and simplicity. We routinely heard comments like "It's so easy to hack!" and "It didn't take me long to find my way around the code base."

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: And Mozilla?
by karl on Mon 8th Sep 2008 13:41 in reply to "RE[2]: And Mozilla?"
karl Member since:
2005-07-06

Wow, you have a propensity to misunderstand things don't you?

lol calling me a troll, do you know the old adage, "it takes one to know one".

Firstly I said that Gecko was far more mature than Webkit- I did not say that Webkit is immature. Gecko is the result of almost 15 years of fine tuning for millions of web pages. Webkit is very young in contrast-being perhaps 3-4 years old at the most.


Secondly I did not lie. Although I am no expert in either the Webkit or Chromes code base it seems obvious to me from the comic published by Google that they must have made rather significant changes to the Webkit code. According to that comic when they first started to use Webkit they were only getting 23% compatibility-ie. only 23% of the pages rendered like they normally would with Webkit. Now they claim to have 99% compatibility. I of course cannot explain to you exactly what changes needed to be made- but it seems obvious that both V8 and Webkit needed to be modified to work correctly together to get correct rendering.

As i stated repeatedly in my post, Webkit does offer advantages to devs- it is far easier to integrate with other software, due in large part to it's modular design, and to a smaller degree due to it's relative lack of complexity in contrast to Gecko.

I have nothing against Webkit. I have used applications built with Webkit(epiphany, yelp and others). But IMNSHO Webkit is not as mature as Gecko/Mozilla and I prefer to use Mozilla for my web browsing needs.

Practice your reading comprehension skills before you go around calling others trolls.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: And Mozilla?
by google_ninja on Mon 8th Sep 2008 20:27 in reply to "RE: And Mozilla?"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Firefox, as a project, was the first attempt to really streamline the legacy of Mozilla, and to isolate some subset of tech's available to make a lean and powerful browser. Currently work is ongoing to streamline Mozilla even more to make it competitve in the mobile space.


That was the original goal, but then the age of horribly written plugins happened, and the devs had a choice; either do nothing and let people use these horribly written plugins and have a bad experience, or integrate the more commonly used bits.

Firefox 1 was phenomenal, 2 was pretty sucky, but better then the alternative, and 3 is a mature version of 2, but has long since left behind any hope of being "streamlined" or minimalist".

From a dev perspective Webkit offers a lot of advantages over Gecko. But as a user I still far prefer Gecko over anything else. In much the same way I prefer Firefox over any of it's competitors-Safari has no appeal to me(even if it did run under Linux), neither does Konqueror-as a browser, nor Epiphany. The existence of these other browsers however is something I am very thankful for- they increase the presence of certain standards, they decrease the relevance of IE, and they are a healthy ground for competion-which makes the Web a better place. Webkit is having a huge success right now in the mobile space- this is because the developers are right now creating platforms for these devices. Mozilla, of which Gecko is a part, is already and tremedously powerful platform, unfortunately one not written for tiny computers which simply did not exist when it was written.


The great thing about gecko is that everyone tests for it nowadays. The bad thing about gecko is that it has a long, kludgy history of bad design decisions, and it quite slow compared to the competition. There were alot more good choices made with webkit, and it shows in both the code quality/modularity of the engine, and in terms of perf.

Webkit has had two big flaws up till now. The first was that its javascript implementation was terrible, the second was that safari as a browser is pretty sucky, and that was the only really mature implementation available for the end user.

Also, Mozilla has managed to position themselves as the old boring standby that works with everything now, which is not a good place to be.

We haven't seen much in the way of innovation coming from there in quite awhile now that is not duplicated in other camps. Even those vids that MozLabs put out awhile ago are far from revolutionary, and IE8 already implements the beginnings of most of the ideas that Mozilla sees as long term goals. Google managed to ship a JIT engine for js before they got theirs out the door, and Opera is a good five years ahead of their efforts to get into the mobile space.

Correct me if I am missing some big thing, but it is hard to see Mozilla being a long term player unless they get their act together really soon. Firefox is actually my least favorite browser at this point, which is a real shame, because it had such a bright future back in the phoenix/firebird days.

Reply Parent Score: 2