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Re: SimpleWebKit (was GNUstep Web browser (was Re: WebKit Bounty))

From: Riccardo
Subject: Re: SimpleWebKit (was GNUstep Web browser (was Re: WebKit Bounty))
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 23:39:56 +0100
User-agent: GNUMail (Version 1.2.0)


since I have seen that you commented on my blog and that your comment generated other comments...

On 2007-03-19 01:07:17 +0100 Mark Rowe <address@hidden> wrote:

Hi there,

A common misunderstanding is that the only complex part in creating a web browser is supporting "broken" web pages. It is true that this can complicate matters, but the fact that no major web browsers have *complete* support for the majority of web standards should give some idea as to how much work is involved in implementing them. Internet Explorer and Mozilla have been developed over the last 10 years, primarily by full-time software engineers.
I think that nobody underestimates the time needed. But I think that the big time spent developing mozilla is also due by many different goals. I do believe that a compact, clean web engine can be written with much less effort if some conditions are relaxed. I don't know that the goals of Dr. Schaller are, but I myself would call me satisfied if we get an engine with supports most of the used standards in HTML, XHTML and CSS if they are written correctly, if it renders acceptably broken pages and if a usable JavaScript is there. So if I get 90% of gecko functionality with less bloat, less resources less code I'd call myself satisfied. If you look at how decently iCab did work (I haven't checked its maintainance status lately), which is the effort of 2 people...

Although people will say Obj-C++ was needed because of the usage of KHTML, I think that Apple underestimated the task of getting KHTML to work cleanly and if those resources were put in better use a cleaner and better WebKit woul dhave existed. And no need of ugly languages, less crashes, better memory managment. And about speed - I don't know.

Please get in touch[2] with us if anyone is interested in getting involved with porting WebKit to GNUstep. It will almost certainly be a quicker means of having a fully-featured web browser on GNUstep than attempting to start from scratch.

I think there is space for both engines - since they are going to be API compatible. Both may exist on both APple and GNUstep platforms. I see them in the short-mid-term as very different beasts which will have differences in performance and ompatibility with different bugs. At the moment I thought that devoting time to help Nikolaus in the port is well invested time (given that there is other work needed to better sync GNUstep and myStep... it is great time), since porting WebKit will be a great task too, will probably need latest compilers and will bind us at Apple. What if in the future WebKit will need Obj-C 2.0 features - let us be saved. Or it will ocnstantly need some ugly Core* stuff? Or some other decisions whcih might hurt us or which we don't want to share?

both WebKit and SimpleWebKit have hurdles on the road and promise different results. For now, I see substance in SimpleWebKit, if someone else starts a GNUstep port of WebKit nothing prevents me to help him too.

Nice Work,

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