Tag Archives: Google

Google Leaves WebKit: What Does It Mean?

browsersEarlier this week on the blog, we discussed cross-browser compatibility testing, which is so important for making sure your website works across multiple browsers. We mentioned that different browsers render your website differently because they all use different rules (based on different software, or rendering engines) for converting HTML and CSS into a visible site. Mozilla has it’s own rendering engine and Internet Explorer has… well it depends on the version… and Safari and Chrome both base their renderings on a software called WebKit.

Until now.

Google has recently announced that it will be abandoning WebKit in favor of it’s own web-rendering software called Blink. The changeover will occur in the next 10 weeks, with the release of Chrome 28. Another popular browser, Opera, has announced that they will follow Google’s lead to drop WebKit and adopt Blink as it’s rendering engine too.

So you have a little background, WebKit is an open-source software (originally developed by Apple) that both Apple and Google have been working on collaboratively since Google Chrome’s release in 2008. But apparently, Google finds that the rendering engine is not progressing fast enough for them. As Adam Barth, a software engineer at Google, wrote on the official Chromium blog, “having multiple rendering engines — similar to having multiple browsers — will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.”

For developers, this means that Chrome and Safari can no longer be expected to be so close in their web renderings. For years, WebKit has been almost a golden standard for designers because of it’s versatility and wide usage (WebKit based browsers across desktop AND mobile accounted for nearly 50% of all Internet usage in late 2012).

Web developers may also need to pay close attention to Safari’s next move. Much of the WebKit project’s original coding and maintenance was contributed by Google, and Safari depends on much of that code. Without the developers to sustain WebKit, Safari will need to pare down the project or beef up their dev teams.

The good news is many-fold, though. Blink is based on WebKit and won’t differ all that much during it’s initial implementation. Even further down the line when the two do diverge significantly, Blink-based browsers will just require the same compatibility testing that web developers already do.

With Blink, Google is also seeking to simplify the web-rendering process, and cut out some 4.5 million lines of code from WebKit’s complicated structure. Blink promises to be faster, less buggy, and more mobile friendly than current rendering engines, and we’re excited to see it.

In the long term, developers can look forward to new innovations and even simpler coding practices as a result of Google’s WebKit departure. So don’t despair, but DO keep cross-browser testing!!

Memphis wants Google Fiber … and the City needs your help!

In case you haven’t heard, Google is currently hosting a nation wide competition to give a few lucky communities around the country super-fast fiber optic broadband networks –  and Memphis is vying for one of those spots. This is an incredibly competitive initiative. Don’t believe us? Just check out what some cities are doing to get Google’s attention.

Google Fiber promises Internet speed up to a one gigabit per second – that’s three hundred times faster than typical home broadband service. The real coup of winning a bid for Fiber, though, would be that Google plans to take this service to every home and business in the chosen communities, regardless of the neighborhood’s commercial potential. An investment of that magnitude could transform an entire city.

So where do you come in? If Memphis wants to be a real contender, then Google needs to hear from members of our community. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wrote in his blog ways that we, as Memphians, can help the cause. The first step and one of the easiest (but most important) things you can do is to fill out Google’s web questionnaire for community members, stating your support for Memphis, Tennessee.

Filing the questionnaire is simple. If you don’t have a Google account, then just click here to sign up. If you do, then go ahead and Nominate Your Community. When you are finished, press “submit.”

And if you’re looking to get more involved, there are other ways to help. The city is gathering video testimonials, written letters of support, web content and links to Memphis supporters’ Web sites this week only. You can help by making a one to two minute video of you or your friends talking about why you believe Memphis is the best city for Google Fiber. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top or expensive — even a cell phones video stating the case would make a difference.

E-mail the video file once it’s done and it will be posted to the city’s YouTube channel for Google to review.

Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by, Memphis — we want Google Fiber and we can be the ones to help make it happen.