This morning Google announced via the Chromium Developers blog that they are launching their own open source version of the rendering engine behind their popular browser Chrome. Instead of using the open source Webkit rendering engine, which Google has actively contributed to for a number of years they will be branching off to build their own called ‘Blink‘.
The reasoning behind moving to their own rendering engine has been listed in the blog post:
Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation – so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.
While we won’t notice much – if any – difference on the surface, this change will allow Google to innovate at the speed for which they’re known for. Google added that as part of the streamlining process, they’ll be able to ‘remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines’.
Developers will be able to contribute code to the open-source project with the Chromium project advising that Blink is an inclusive open source community that values fostering a supportive culture: “We welcome participation from anyone who shares our mission”. Google describes the Blink mission thusly: “To improve the open web through technical innovation and good citizenship”.
It looks as though other browser manufacturers could be ready to adopt Blink with Bruce Lawson from Opera advising that ‘My boss, Lars Erik Bolstad, said on Opera’s behalf:
“Our ambition is to contribute Opera’s browser engine expertise to Blink, ranging from the implementation of new web standards to improvements in existing code.”
With Chrome being the main underlying software in ChromeOS, this change will give Google more freedom and power to quickly advance technology in their desktop OS as well.
Development and adoption of Blink is in its early stages, but it’s off to a promising start and with web standards, conformity is definitely something we want to maintain. It will be interesting to see exactly where this leads, and just how quickly Google can iterate changes into their Chrome and ChromeOS products.