Coffeehouse Thread

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Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine

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  • Erisan

    "To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers."

    "It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further. Opera will contribute to the WebKit and Chromium projects, and we have already submitted our first set of patches: to improve multi-column layout."

    Opera gears up at 300 million users

  • fanbaby

    Wow!

    That's not how I thought things would turn out. I was sure opera would be bought, by someone who needed a proprietary engine. I tried opera several times and it looked fast and smooth.

    That puts a price on proprietary browser engine: $0. Well at least opera's.

  • fanbaby
  • bondsbw

    Wow.  Just a few weeks ago, someone floated the idea of Microsoft ditching Trident in favor of WebKit.  Now, if they really are considering a switch, I think I'd be more in favor of IE using the Gecko engine... WebKit is becoming too popular, which could pull us back into the dark ages of one engine to rule them all.

  • GoddersUK

    @bondsbw: An interesting read here, http://my.opera.com/haavard/blog/2013/02/13/webkit, on the (unofficial) blog of an Opera employee.

    tl;dr: It's too difficult to develop a rendering engine with a low userbase when the web is too closed/lacking on standards compliance.

    Presto was actually designed from the ground up with compatibility in mind. It was always a goal to be compatible with the real web while also supporting and promoting open standards.

    That turns out to be a bit of a challenge when you are faced with a web that is not as open as one might have wanted.

    Yes, monoculture is bad, but Opera was never really in a position to prevent it in the first place. Even with Opera as the dominant mobile browser and more than 300 million active Opera users in total across all platforms, web developers still designed just for WebKit.

    But it's not all bad. He contends that switching to WebKit will enable Opera to innovate more, polish the browser, improve WebKit and the web in general and help Opera push the web further in a direction that competes with the closed world of native apps.

    Still, Presto you will be missed. In Trident and Gecko we must trust to keep competition and openness alive.

     

  • figuerres

    I think this is really about the so called html "standard"  which allows for different browsers to render the same html and css pages with different results on the screen.  so users and web designers do not care about the standards document but about having pages work right.  and designers do not want to try and put in different markup / css for each browser...

    so we are now going to have a "standard in fact"  by writing to one engine and telling the rest to follow or die.

    So to anyone who wants to have multiple browser engines needs to go talk to the html standards folks and get them to write a standard that is really and truly "standard" so that engine developers and web designers do not have to hate each other.

    ok perhaps hate is not the right word but....

  • magicalclick

    , bondsbw wrote

    Wow.  Just a few weeks ago, someone floated the idea of Microsoft ditching Trident in favor of WebKit.  Now, if they really are considering a switch, I think I'd be more in favor of IE using the Gecko engine... WebKit is becoming too popular, which could pull us back into the dark ages of one engine to rule them all.

    I agree. Too bad many sites love to serve legacy page to IE. Unless IE pretend to be other browsers, it sometimes revert back to IE5 pages from server and ended up doing IE5 mode on client, just terrible.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • rjdohnert

    I really dont know if WebKit is the way to go.  There are enough WebKit based browsers out there.  What would their advantage be?

  • evildictait​or

    , figuerres wrote

    I think this is really about the so called html "standard"  which allows for different browsers to render the same html and css pages with different results on the screen.  so users and web designers do not care about the standards document but about having pages work right.  and designers do not want to try and put in different markup / css for each browser...

    ++

    The reason we have so much problem with standards on the web is because the standard committee made the stupid decision that bad (read: broken) markup is the responsibility of the browser to fix, rather than the responsibility of the programmer to fix.

    At the moment, iIf you're writing a browser, not only are you required to parse and render good HTML, but you're required to parse and render utterly, utterly broken HTML. And the web is going to continue to suck until we start swinging the pendulum back the other way.

    The world will be better when not only can any idiot write a webpage, but any idiot can write a web-browser. Only then are we going to get real competition in the market.

    So anyway, my proposal for HTML6: If your document starts <!doctype html6>, the page should show a generic error page if the HTML is broken. It should be explcitly verboten in the HTML6 spec to "have a guess" at what the developer wanted. And perhaps then, we can start moving towards a better web.

  • Bass

    @evildictaitor:

    The whole "lets design a standard that punishes non-conformance" was tried and failed with XHTML Strict. Turns out people don't like to be punished for not meeting the arbitrary demands of web browsers. Who would have known?

  • Kental2

    I think the trouble is that web developers want one thing, and "people who do web stuff" want another.  It takes all my effort not to roll my eyes when I tell someone I'm a web developer and they say "Oh yeah, I do Wordpress.  You can be technical with me."  I don't mean to belittle the platform, but they're hardly the same thing.

    All the developers I know and myself would be very happy with more strict standards and something that we can rely on to be consistent across browsers.  The rest of the web who have the occasional WYSIWYG editors that are poorly made or websites done by people with 10 minutes reading a CSS for dummies want to be able to do the minimum amount of effort required to get their site to look good on the browser they use, and damn the rest of the browsers.

    It's a double-edged sword.  It's good because the web is so open and pretty much anyone and their dog can have a website.  And they frequently do.  On the other hand, there's a million websites out there that are made incredibly poorly, but if someone wants to visit that site in their browser of choice and it doesn't look good, it's automatically the fault of the crappy browser.

    And while I'm on this diatribe, I should point out that just because a web browser is using Webkit doesn't guarantee it'll look the same as another browser using Webkit.  Rarely a week goes by when I'm not having to put some hack in for Safari that doesn't exist in Chrome or vice-versa.  And I'm not talking about Chrome windows vs. Safari mac.  I'm talking about the same browser on the same platform.  They have completely different rendering problems.

  • cheong

    , figuerres wrote

    I think this is really about the so called html "standard"  which allows for different browsers to render the same html and css pages with different results on the screen.  so users and web designers do not care about the standards document but about having pages work right.  and designers do not want to try and put in different markup / css for each browser...

    so we are now going to have a "standard in fact"  by writing to one engine and telling the rest to follow or die.

    So to anyone who wants to have multiple browser engines needs to go talk to the html standards folks and get them to write a standard that is really and truly "standard" so that engine developers and web designers do not have to hate each other.

    ok perhaps hate is not the right word but....

    Let's face it. There's too few programmers who can design elegantly for web, and there's too few web designers that can code. For those who can't code, we can't really expect them to care about "standard". When the result looks good enough, their job is considered done. There's little or none incentive for them to learn "pay the tax".

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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  • GoddersUK

    @cheong: It's called "working in a team".

  • elmer

    Maybe, with a few more bodies available, they can start to address the bug list in Webkit - it's impressively long.

  • kettch

    , Kental2 wrote

    And while I'm on this diatribe, I should point out that just because a web browser is using Webkit doesn't guarantee it'll look the same as another browser using Webkit.  Rarely a week goes by when I'm not having to put some hack in for Safari that doesn't exist in Chrome or vice-versa.  And I'm not talking about Chrome windows vs. Safari mac.  I'm talking about the same browser on the same platform.  They have completely different rendering problems.

    I once read an article that went on a pretty long rant about all of the various versions of WebKit out there. Apparently you can't even guarantee things are going to look the same between minor point releases of the same browser.

    To think that people criticize IE for their public stance on not doing rapid updates. (Although a bit faster wouldn't be bad)

  • Ian2

    There was a show on TV over here a few years ago that showed what tends to happen quite a lot.  The show had a really smart programming geek and an arrogant designer.  The designer would agree everything with the client then take it to the programmer, toss the design on the table with a throwaway comment like "here, code that monkey boy!  The designer got all the glory and reward and the programmer got the hard work and pressure to deliver (Because of the broken standards).

    Microsoft had a pretty good go at tackling this issue with the Expression suite but it looks to have failed - largely because great design and great development skills rarely exist in the same body.

    So what has this got to do with web standards?

  • figuerres

    , Ian2 wrote

    There was a show on TV over here a few years ago that showed what tends to happen quite a lot.  The show had a really smart programming geek and an arrogant designer.  The designer would agree everything with the client then take it to the programmer, toss the design on the table with a throwaway comment like "here, code that monkey boy!  The designer got all the glory and reward and the programmer got the hard work and pressure to deliver (Because of the broken standards).

    Microsoft had a pretty good go at tackling this issue with the Expression suite but it looks to have failed - largely because great design and great development skills rarely exist in the same body.

    So what has this got to do with web standards?

    go take a look at the html standard docs...  it has stuff like how tall a line should render that kind of says "well a one inch tall line can be between 3/4 of an inch to 1 1/2 inches tall."

    so when two or three different teams write a browser they can have different results for the same html.  but they can all say they are following the same "standard"  that along with all the other junk about handling bad html leads to the classic problems we see with trying to make web pages that look the same in different browsers.   and this has led to web sites targeting one browser and telling users to switch browsers for the site to work right.

    *IF* we had a real standard that all the browsers used then it would not matter to the designer or the user what browser they used, it would work the same on all of them.  then developers and designers and users would all have less problems with html and browsers.

  • Kental2

    @Ian2: That's also pretty close to the truth because a lot of designers don't realize that you don't design for the web the same way you design for a magazine or brochure.  I see it all the time; a design company sends these beautiful PDFs of layouts and they're things that are particularly difficult to achieve in HTML.  They do things like using custom fonts they don't have licenses for, and making fonts different sizes on every single page so all these little boxes line up (using fonts as a design tool is one of my personal pet peeves about non-web-designers).

    Not only that, but once we get it 95% of the way there, they tell us they want us to be compatible with browser versions 6 years old.  Web standards are already unbearable as it is; go back 6 years and it's like the dark ages.  That's why I'm not so surprised that bad browser checks are so prevalent in the "wild"; it's the only way to shut some people up who don't know better.  All they see is that 3 people hit their website in IE7 last year, and darn it they need to see content correctly too!

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