New Browser Engines Everywhere
There were two major announcements this week concerning the development of new “browser engines”; the software at the heart of Web browsers responsible for “rendering” or displaying the actual content of Web pages. Both of these announcements, the first by Google and the other collectively made by Mozilla (Firefox) and Samsung, target the increasing capabilities of the hardware that these browsers run on and the need to ensure that Web browsing occurs in a secure environment.
The new engine from Mozilla/Samsung, dubbed “Servo”, is being coded using Mozilla’s “Rust” programming language, which Mozilla calls “safe by default” from many of the memory management and security issues that plague other programing languages. This inherent security is being coupled with the ability to spread processing across multiple hardware processing “cores”. Current browser technology mostly utilises a single processing core when, in today’s hardware world, even smartphones and tablets can have as many as 8 cores available. Mozilla and Samsung intend for this engine development to spur efforts to completely rebuild browser software “from the ground up”; better positioning it both for future hardware capabilities, the ever-changing needs of the Web and specifically targeting development for smartphones and tablets. You can read more about the new “Servo” engine at… https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2013/04/03/mozilla-and-samsung-collaborate-on-next-generation-web-browser-engine/
The new engine from Google, which they are calling “Blink”, will be based on (is a “fork” of) the open-sourced WebKit engine currently being used by Google for Chrome/Chromium and by Apple for Safari. Google’s decision to break away from WebKit and create a new browser engine is being driven by the diverging development needs and methods of Google and Apple. These different approaches between Apple and Google have created “tension” between the two engineering groups concerning the long-term direction of WebKit. Google’s decision to abandon WebKit and go it on their own will allow both WebKit and Blink to grow and change to suit the needs of both parties. You can read more about Google’s new “Blink” engine at… http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57577790-93/google-parts-ways-with-apple-over-webkit-launches-blink/
In a related announcement… the Opera browser folks, who within the last few weeks had decided to abandon their own browser rendering engine (called Presto) for WebKit, announced this week that they would actually be jumping to Google’s Blink engine instead of WebKit and supporting Google’s open-source Chromium platform (same code base as Chrome) as a basis for their future browser versions. You can read more about Opera’s decision at… http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/04/04/opera-confirms-it-will-follow-google-and-ditch-webkit-for-blink-as-part-of-its-commitment-to-chromium/