Google ditching WebKit engine for Blink in Chrome

Google's Chrome web browser has used the WebKit rendering engine ever since Google launched the first version of its in-house browser. Today, Google announced that it will be moving on from WebKit in future versions of Chrome with a new rendering engine, Blink, that's based in part on WebKit.

In a post on the Chromium blog, Google stated that while using WebKit has served Chrome well over the years, Chrome uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers. This has caused an increase in complexity for Chrome, and for WebKit. Google feels this system has held the Chrome team back in terms of putting in new and innovative features. It added:

This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.

Like WebKit, the development of Blink will also be open sourced. For now, web developers won't have to worry too much about this change, as Google claims that Blink development will concentrate at the moment on simplifying code. It stated, "For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat."

In February, Opera announced it was dumping its own internal Presto engine for its browser in favor of WebKit, in part because Opera wanted to develop with the open source-based WebKit and its community. In a FAQ on its Chromium developer site, Google indicated that Opera will also be using Blink.

Source: Chromium blog | Image via Google

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft releases Ms. Splosion Man for PC via Steam

Next Story

Dell could launch larger Windows 8 tablets later in 2013

47 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Oh dear god, not more crappy journalism with said headline of "Google ditching WebKit engine for Blink in Chrome" - Blink is a fork of Webkit so it is still based upon webkit. The impression I got based off reading the head line was that blink was a 'ground up' brand new rendering engine when in reality it is is refactored Webkit that Google has decided would be best done as a project in its own right rather than being under the umbrella of Webkit.

Right now its based on webkit, but the reason they forked it is to take it in incompatible directions. So, regardless of its roots, its cannot be treated as the same as webkit.

Nice.......... /s

Now that MS finally starts to keep IE under control, we have Google fragmenting up Webkit.
With Google's indecisive mind on services lately, this can get nasty.

Oh well..... Standards are great, there are lots to choose from.......

I'm surprised anyone is calling Chrome "bloat" regardless of the coding it runs great on every pc old and new I've installed it on.

aionaddict said,
I'm surprised anyone is calling Chrome "bloat" regardless of the coding it runs great on every pc old and new I've installed it on.

Even if Chrome runs great on every PC you've installed it, they will simplify the code a lot and be able to just discard 7000 code files right away when moving to Blink - that's bloat.

However, my experience is that IE9 and IE10 has better rendering performance than Chrome on slow PCs, so it will be interesting to see how Blink affects that.

Chrome is NOTHING BUT bloat. Just look at the size of that installation file. Computer I just installed it on yesterday was 144MB's!! That absolutely stupid!!

Worst browser on the net, IMO. Normally wouldn't install that POS on an enemies machine, but computer I was working on yesterday, the lady wanted it. I also installed SRWare Iron for her to compare it with and Opera! 2 MUCH BETTER browsers!

Screw Google and EVERYTHING they do!!

cork1958 said,
Chrome is NOTHING BUT bloat. Just look at the size of that installation file. Computer I just installed it on yesterday was 144MB's!! That absolutely stupid!!

Worst browser on the net, IMO. Normally wouldn't install that POS on an enemies machine, but computer I was working on yesterday, the lady wanted it. I also installed SRWare Iron for her to compare it with and Opera! 2 MUCH BETTER browsers!

Screw Google and EVERYTHING they do!!

SRWare Iron is based on Chromium too. Won't it be the same?

So much for google and its hypocrisy. Wasn't the fact that windows phone not being based on the webkit engine one of the reasons they gave for mediocre google web apps on wp. Now they decide to drop webkit. Aaarrrggghhh

They aren't "dropping" webkit, they are forking it to develop it at their own pace independently from Apple.
Basically they'll keep developing webkit only that under a different name in a separated branch.

Interesting, just as Opera is adopting WebKit. Which I'm not looking forward to because as others and Google have said it's not good to have everyone using the same engine.

Personally I think this is a good move. WebKit's popularity has been great for web standards but if too many browsers adopt it then you end up with a situation similar to with IE6, whereby web developers target the dominant platform and leave the rest at the wayside. And if it allows Google to simplify the code base and increase development speed then that will be a positive move in and of itself.

Just in case anyone was wondering, according to http://www.chromium.org/blink it seems they're going to try and do something about the vendor prefix problem


Vendor Prefixes
Historically, browsers have relied on vendor prefixes (e.g., -webkit-feature) to ship experimental features to web developers. This approach can be harmful to compatibility because web content comes to rely upon these vendor-prefixed names. Going forward, instead of enabling a feature by default with a vendor prefix, we will instead keep the (unprefixed) feature behind the “enable experimental web platform features” flag in about:flags until the feature is ready to be enabled by default. Mozilla has already embarked on a similar policy and the W3C CSS WG formed a rough consensus around a complementary policy.

Yes, I meant IE 7 is probably the slowest browser I have ever used (on a modern PC platform). IE 8 wasn't much better. At the time, Firefox was a lot faster when compared to IE. Yet, so many companies forced it (instead of Firefox). I remember thinking in my head when navigating the web during a break during a training course where we were forced to use IE 7: "how can people live with this?". In Firefox, eBay takes a few seconds to load. On IE 7/IE 8, it seemed to take 10s of seconds. Couldn't Microsoft do a better job? I am sure IE 9 to IE 11 are much improved, but I'm a Firefox fan.

far as i know it was to do with the way IE rendered compared to the way firefox rendered. IE would wait for its content so that the page rendered in one hit, where as firefox would start rendering as soon as it started receiving content, so you would get the the layout expanding and changing shape as the content came in. This was definitely perceived speed advantage for firefox.

I'm not sure, it's just as far as i know.

68k said,
Microsoft do a better job? I am sure IE 9 to IE 11 are much improved, but I'm a Firefox fan.

How about you give Internet Explorer 10 a try?

Believe it or not, IE10 is quite fast.

68k said,
Couldn't Microsoft do a better job? I am sure IE 9 to IE 11 are much improved, but I'm a Firefox fan.

I do not believe you if you are telling me that Firefox 1.5 is much faster than IE7 on a modern PC. Both browser launched 2006. Firefox 2 for instance was dead slow, before Firefox 3 came. Yes, I know developed on them back then.

Because I'm hoping that you don't being totally dishonest and compares a modern Firefox of today against a six year old product. But that usually how it goes on the internet of today.

This could be good or bad. If they cut the bloat, stick to ACTUAL standards and improve the competition then I think this is great work by Google. I was getting a bit worried that WebKit would completely take over and we'd have the IE6 debacle all over again but if they fork off WebKit then this will definitely do the industry favours. If they abuse their market share and advertising power in Google to force their browser onto people and it implements dodgy proprietary, unofficial or undocumented standards then I won't be too happy!

That's kind of what they are setting themselves up for. Basically they are saying "webkit is moving too slow, we'll take what's there now and go our own way with it"

NXTwoThou said,
That's kind of what they are setting themselves up for. Basically they are saying "webkit is moving too slow, we'll take what's there now and go our own way with it"

Ain't that's how it should be? All companies should be free to do whatever they want with the browsers that they want. That's how things they can differentiate and innovate. Instead if everybody works on the same thing, they will always be stuck on the least common denominator. As long as they adhere to what has been decided in the collaborative standards process (which market forces in a non-monopoly market will ensure) it won't cause anything detrimental to either users or developers.

Webkit getting too much of marketshare (or any other engine for that matter) will skew the balance of things badly. So an incompatible fork of Webkit in a browser with a significant marketshare can only be a good thing.

As someone who writes code all day for websites..no..not really. Was really happy when I read that I wouldn't have to be testing new versions of Opera anymore. Now I'm back to the same count of engines I need to test all my sites on. +1 if you count the Moz/Sams crap too.

In related news, Mozilla and Apple have announced that their respective Firefox and Safari browsers will also be adopting the new Blink rendering engine.

Hmm wonder whats going to happen to chrome when it switches? Will it reduce the bloat? Hopefully.

Plus I read somewhere that Chrome never really used WebKit fully just WebCore and those 7,000 something files are from WebKit supporting WebKit2.

Would like to see where this decision takes chrome.