Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Internet Time: Don't Blink

by Dietrich Schmitz

It's just another day at Linux Advocates.  The pace of news is per usual frenetic. 

One constant that is ever-present on the Internet: Change

In a story on TechCrunch Google made the decision today to fork WebKit to 'Blink' to advance their projects in the name of "speed and simplicity".  The statement from Google's VP of Engineering:

This decision clearly wasn’t made lightly. Indeed, as Upson stressed when I talked to him yesterday, “management asked a lot of hard questions” about this move, but in the end, the decision was made in order to reduce the technical complexity of evolving Google’s rendering engine in the direction the team wanted to go in.

This is, needless to say, going to be another 'game changing' move.  It's rather unsettling because as most developers become used to WebKit's complexities, now yet another fork is being introduced that will yet result in it's own variation.

Whether or not other vendors adopt Blink remains to be seen and depends on exactly what Google's Engineering Team plan to do with it and why.

It seems that they are dealing with a mix of technical issues and upstream latency from other contributing sources who need to be in sync on their own development timelines.

This is always problematic and the move to a fork relieves the need to deal with upstream hindrances as they deconstruct WebKit and freely make major changes to it without interference or raising an uproar with the open source community.  Recalling also, that for their own good reasons as it turned out, Apple forked the Konqueror browser's KHTML engine to WebKit.

Will Blink be welcomed?  I suspect not at least initially, but we need to let the dust settle and find out what develops as time takes it course.  It appears that Blink will be surfacing sooner than later in Chrome and ChromeOS, offering speculation that at least initially the changes in WebKit to Blink are minimal at first.

Well, there you have it.  Living on Internet time.  Never a dull moment.

-- Dietrich

[Edit: 4/4/2013 - This Developer FAQ page will answer many questions you may have.]
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I'm interested to see how Blink evolves. I do not like the name, but from what I've read so far (from Google) I like the rationale, and even if I don't there are other popular Webkit browsers out there. I'm interested to see if Opera stick with their Webkit/V8 plan, or if they adopt Blink.

    There's a lot of talk of parallel approaches to solving problems with Blink, and that intrigues me. I think a lot of the changes are orienting Blink towards web application performance, and that piques my interests even more, as that's what I spend my time working on.

  2. WebKit is the big dog of web architecture. Maybe Google would like to have more influence in this domain. V8 engine saved Javascript and I bet they'll make webkit even more useable than it is now.