Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Great Day for the Web

Opera Software announced they are no longer going to develop their own HTML rendering engine, Presto, for their popular Opera browser and are instead switching to WebKit, the engine in Safari and Chrome.

With Opera switching to WebKit, that leaves Firefox and Internet Explorer as the outliers. Hopefully Opera's move will put pressure on at least one of these outliers to switch, ideally both. That would make life a lot easier for web developers who today have to test on at least three different browsers. To me, that just makes no sense. If Firefox and IE switched to WebKit (which I know is unlikely but hey, I would have said the same about Opera), then web developer productivity would certainly  improve. And hopefully, like Opera, more developers will be improving WebKit rather than being spreading out their effort among three different rendering engines.

Robert O'Callahan of Mozilla said this is a "sad day for the web". I agree with John Gruber that this is a sad day for Mozilla but it's a great day for the web.

Once they complete this switch, we will likely add Opera to the list of browsers supported by the web framework in Real Studio, giving our customers one more choice of browser for their customers.


Unknown said...

For the open web, it is indeed a very bad day.

There are already too much monopolies in the world, we do not need another.

Geoff Perlman said...

Chris, WebKit is an open source project. Anyone can contribute to it, anyone can use it. Different HTML rendering engines means different humans interpreting HTML differently. That's not a good result for the end user. A single, open source rendering engine used by all browsers would produce better results for users and greatly improve productivity for web developers. And the fact is, having different teams of developers interpreting HTML differently does not add any value. It does just the opposite.

Jeremy said...

Just because it is OpenSource does not mean it can not be a monopoly. One solution/product is a bad thing, open or closed source.