Thursday, August 07, 2008

Concept Idea - Webkit for Firefox ! (Mozilla Labs)

This is my contribution for Mozilla Labs concepts. PLEASE, SWITCH TO WEBKIT !

Why develop two HTML engines that are supposed to do exactly the same thing, when you could join forces and develop only one ? The user doesn't have access to the engine, it's the "user experience" that matters !

Dump Gecko !

Development in Webkit is much faster ! In less than four months (beginning in January, 2008) Webkit got around 50 points in Acid3, while there are no plans for Gecko to support it yet.

Webkit is faster, smaller, portable !

It's been proven that Webkit has low overhead ! Consider the actual list of architectures that support it:
  • Safari on Mac
  • iPhone's Safari Browser
  • Epiphany on Gnome (gtk+ port)
  • Integrated to Qt (Qt 4.4)
  • Browser for Google Android phones
  • Nokia S60 phone
  • (planned) Konqueror on KDE 4.1
  • etc !
On the other hand, as of August 2008, nobody really considers using Gecko in embedded systems (the only exception is the OLPC project, which is rather a downscaled Linux/x86 standard architecture).

Dump the legacy !

Even though supporting buggy websites is still important these days, the slow development of Gecko, compared to Webkit, hints to us how bad supporting legacy code can be to maintenance. Let's switch the development models. We can't wait a full year to support Acid3 and other standards when we can wait just four months !

It's free software !

Why duplicating efforts when everything is free source ? Just build the shell above a single great engine that gets the job done. You can do it, because it's free software !

(for a more critic opinion of the same problem, see the post from October 2007 in the Peer Pressure blog)


Lars Gunther (itpastorn) said...

What about security. Firefox kicks Safari's ass in that regard. In some parts that is related to Gecko vz. Webkit.

JavaScript 1.9 and upcoming 2.0?

Memory usage:

As for Acid3, look at the bugs in Webkit's Bugzilla and compare them to Mozilla's. The former team just wanted to achieve the points. The latter team keeps working even when the Acid3 points have been achieved, communicates nuances and edge cases with e.g. the CSS Working Group. Getting a rock solid implementation is more important than passing the test.

BTW, which part of the DOM spec that Firefox 3.1 won't pass will you miss - in real life? Do you even know what is being tested in detail?

Bottom line. Webkit has a few fine points in its architecture, but so does gecko. Neither is superior. Do not believe the hype!

Personally I prefer Gecko.

clorr said...

The arrival of Chrome shows that your idea had much sense...

Anon said...

Replace Gecko for WebKit?! Not gonna happen, plenty of reasons, chief among them are 1) Mozilla invested in Gecko a lot and is heavily dependent on it's XUL Engine, too much man hours will be lost to bring some of the features in Gecko to WebKit 2) There is too much ego in FOSS world, you can't prove that one is better than the other, WebKit could be lighter and faster, but Gecko also has its strengths.
KDE still wont switch to WebKit even though it was originally forked from KHTML and turned out to be better.
One more thing, the more rendering engines the better, more incentive to follow the standards to ensure cross compatibility.