35 thoughts on “The Amazing Rise of WebKit Mobile”

  1. It seems like it’d be worth mentioning in there somewhere that WebKit began life as an Apple open-source project (even though it was based upon work done in KHTML).

    I’ll grant that the info is somewhat well-hidden if you don’t already know it.

    But there’s a bit of a difference between Apple has devoted a lot of resources to WebKit and Apple created WebKit. And I’d argue that the latter is clearly more accurate.


  2. …. and also let’s not forget that Adobe adopted WebKit as the rendering core for their cross platform AIR (Adobe Interactive Runtime) environment. WebKit is on the rise everywhere…

  3. This has to be hugely significant for interface developers.

    Cross-browser compatibility is a massive pain when attempting a consistent interface appearance. But if the iPhone and Android are using the same rendering engine, i.e. Webkit, it could potentially lead to a Web which is only rendered by a single engine. No more IE conditional comments or hasLayout! Happy days!

  4. It certainly does read as if you worked very diligently not to link WebKit with Apple. Was this some intentional sleight, or are you really unaware of WebKit’s Apple origins?

  5. reinharden,

    now that is error of my ways. i know it has been supported extensively by apple and it is because of their push we are going to all benefit from it.

  6. See now, Om, you’re doing it again… WebKit hasn’t been “supported extensively” by Apple… WebKit came out of Apple. Period. WebKit was released by Apple as open source at WWDC 2005.

    Since so many have ridiculed Apple’s efforts with WebKit and Safari for years, now that the platform is taking root in a big way, it’s only fair for you to give credit where credit is due.

  7. @Neil: If any one single rendering engine dominates and cross browser compatibility is ignored, it won’t matter what the rendering engine is- WebKit OR IE, code won’t be “standards compliant”.

    With the rising additions of vendor specific properties to WebKit, not very different from IE’s ActiveX “extensions”, such as the recently much talked about “CSS Animation”… dare I say it, will Safari turn out to be the next IE? Not that I’m opposed to it, I’d personally like to see Firefox clean up its act, maybe finally realizing how much bloat XUL is and such?

    I almost feel sorry for Opera.

  8. “IE’s ActiveX “extensions””: this is how shockwave works in IE. Nothing to feel bad about.

    If standards complaint went all the way – we have things like SVG that lacks z-index layering, and firefox that lacks basics like “outerHTML”.

    Hate standards when it is in the hands of the puritans. Let competition and innovation be encouraged, standards can (and should) always follow. The world is not perfect after all.

  9. “The Surfing Safari”? That isn’t the title I see there, and it clearly isn’t the reference the title alludes to.

    What next? Calling Frank Sinatra the Chairperson of the Board?

  10. Yeah, we’re stocked about Android running on WebKit too! With the system requirements in mind (min. 200 Mhz processor), we’re actually going to try to support the platform with the rich interface we so far reserve for the iPhone/iPod for our WPhone plugin (WordPress Mobile Admin plugin): http://wphoneplugin.org/

    Then, we’re also hoping to do the same for the most recent Nokia devices (S60WebKit), and hopefully the OpenMoko if they do go with WebKit in the consumer release (late).

    One thing though, WebKit is indeed gaining ground and is getting all the press, but people usually forget to also mention how WebCore (JS engine) is also a rising star, which to me is actually more significant.

  11. I don’t really care who exactly did what, but it’s nice to see this for 2 reasons- 1) Even if it’s not 100% standards-compliant, it is at least open-source, and 2) Safari on the iPhone/iPod Touch is a great mobile browser, so hopefully other devices will get a very nice browser too.

  12. reinharden and fog city dave, you’re both wrong about WebKit. WebKit was, and continues to be, based on alot of the work of the KDE project (KHTML, KJS, KSVG).

    The forking of it by Apple to create the WebKit platform was well and good, but the sending back of heaps of revised code that had to be sorted by the KDE folk created discrepancies in communication between KDE and Apple early on.

    But now that KDE4 is out, WebKit is being reintegrated into the KDE, particularly since Trolltech (which bankrolls a few of the KDE developers because of their preference for their Qt toolkit) was bought by Nokia, which uses WebKit in their S60 mobile browser.

    Either way, WebKit, except for the name, did not start out as an Apple creation. KDE plays a continual role in WebKit’s development as much as the engineers from Apple and Nokia.

  13. Addition: I’m certain that Google also has a hand in WebKit as well with its inclusion in the Java-based Android platform.

  14. Excuse me dropping into this discussion rather late with what is, I must confess, a blatant pitch, but just wanted to let you all know that what is almost certainly the first WebKit browser for Windows Mobile is now available for preview download from Torch Mobile, here: http://www.torchmobile.com

    Versions of the new Iris Browser coming for other platforms from the same developers soon.

  15. Apple did not create Webkit. Apple took KHTML code from KDE and modified it into Webkit. So Apple should NOT get credit for creating Webkit. Far from it, Apple should be disparaged for taking KDE’s code without providing feedback that would help KDE.

  16. And now Google Android and Palm Pre are both using the Webkit rendering engine. This is good news. Hopefully they will join IE and intelligently agree to web standards for developers.

  17. For those that believe apple “created webkit” a quote from wikipedia

    “The code that would become WebKit began in 1998 as the KDE project’s HTML layout engine KHTML and KDE’s JavaScript engine (KJS). The name and project ‘WebKit’ were created in 2002 when Apple Inc. created a fork of KHTML”


    So Apple gave it the webkit name. that is not creating webkit. They also took 3 years to “open source” it. even though it was born from open source.

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