1. 2

  2. 12

    Oh, I remember this post from when it was first published. I disagreed with it then, and I disagree with it even more now.

    “it means I will have one less browser to test” sounds great, but it also means “one less browser for users to choose from”. The rendering engine is not independent from the browser, and many things were possible with Opera that are simply not possible with WebKit. Disabling GIF animation is a simple example, but many other details as well. In other words, it’s choosing developer convenience over user convenience. I think that’s rarely a good choice: developers are in service of users, not the other way around.

    As for web standards; if there’s just one implementation of a standard, then is it still a standard? I’d argue it’s not, it just becomes an implementation with documentation. Opera was pretty good at supporting web standards by the way, and was generally less buggy than Chrome or Firefox in having weird restrictions/limitations. Try putting position: sticky on a flexbox in Firefox for example. It was also the only browser at the time that could handle while (true) { } without completely freezing up. It took years for Chrome or Firefox to be able to do that.

    WebKit is open source and there already exists many forks of it. Think of WebKit as a Linux kernel and Browsers, using WebKit, as Linux Distributions.

    This kind of defeats your point, no? Because a fork of WebKit is not WebKit, but fork: that is, a different engine. We’ve actually seen that happen since this publication with Blink.

    There are more systems than just Linux, by the way. I wouldn’t be cheering the demise of, say, FreeBSD, even though I don’t especially care much for it, just so it makes my developer life marginally easier. Opera was amazing engineering, and managed to keep up just fine with Firefox and Chrome. Many users – myself included – still mourn its loss to this day, and I find it weird when people cheer its demise just so they don’t have to spend an hour testing stuff in Opera.

    1. 2

      Opera was my favorite browser for years and I was a proud user. It was the most standards-compliant browser for a time too. The Nintendo DS browser was an Opera variant.

      Alas, the good ol’ days are behind us.

      I’m still hoping for an Electron-like project that uses a different browser engine.

    2. 8

      A finger curls on the monkey’s paw…

      1. 6

        The core problem here is that having a single browser engine will effectively kill web standards. The standard at that point will be whatever Chrome is doing, and we already went through that nightmare with IE. While WebKit is open source, the reality is that Google ultimately gets to decide on how it evolves. If WebKit becomes the only game in town, then it gives Google an unreasonable amount of power over how the internet works. The internet is simply too important for an ad company to become the sole gatekeeper for it.

        1. 3

          Webkit and blink (chrome / edge) are diverging. Firefox and blink seem to have better standards support than webkit.