WebKit is a rendering engine for web pages that was created on the base of KHTML. It displays the pages of Apple's Safari browser, Chrome and Android from Google. A fork of WebKit, Blink, replaced it in 2013 in the Chrome browser.
It is also used on Apple and Nokia mobiles. It replaced Gecko on the Epiphany browser for Gnome on Linux.
Opera uses WebKit in its Ice browser for smartphones, replacing Presto, its own rendering engine. This browser has a minimalist interface. It use Blink on all browser in 2013.
Based on an overly optimistic interpretation of a sentence of Ballmer, the rumor ran that Microsoft could use WebKit for some of its products, but this was later denied. The sentence was somewhat ambiguous:
"Open source is interesting. Apple has embraced WebKit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8." (Developer Conference at Sydney in November 2008.)
However, Microsoft is a contributor to WebKit to promote the use of some of its software in the browser.
To create its new browser, the Apple company had ignored Gecko and preferred the KHTML runtime that displays the pages in the Konqueror browser under Linux.
Thereafter Apple launched in 2003 from the KHTML code, the WebKit project that became open source in 2005 or more precisely, becomes accessible to third-party applications.
This new version separates web pages and applications form the browser itself, as already does Chrome. It is used by Apple but not by never was by Chrome which had already its own architecture for this effect.
This is a version of WebKit developed by Google with a different architecture for multiple processes. The Chromium version, now names Blink, has separate processes for each iFrame that is more secure.
It replace WebKit since April 3, 2013.
Rendering engines of other browsers are:
- Gecko from Mozilla, on Firefox. (1998).
- Trident from Microsoft. On Internet Explorer since version 4. (1997). Still on IE9.
WebKit is fully compatible with Web standards, unlike Trident until version 9 and 10 of IE.
- Presto from Opera. Succeeds to Elektra since version 7 (2003). But replaced by Blink in 2013.
- Gazelle. This is a rendering engine and browser that would function as an operating system.
- Servo. New browser from Mozilla using the Rust language.
- WebKit. The site.
- Safari 4. For Windows and Mac.
- Using WebKit for your desktop application. Linux Journal.
This requires the use of the Qt framework and QtWebKit, sizelarge, but portable and easy to use.
- Qt 4.5. GUI library that integrates Webkit.
- WebGL. The 3D library for the Web is supported by Webkit (and is displayed in Canvas).
Opera moves to WebKit
Android and iOS Opera's browser is based on WebKit, and is called ICE. The advantage on smartphones is that WebKit is also the native renderer, it gives faster hardware access to ICE. For desktop computers that allows Opera to share all the advanced features of WebKit, what it is also committed to participate. Its first participation is for the multi-columnsfor layout.
This is good news for web developers and webmasters: a compatibility problem less. For users, it will provide a different interface. On mobiles, Opera has 15% market share in 2013 according to StatCounter.