WebKit2 with speed and crash-proofing -- Apple's other big announcement

Screen shot 2010-04-09 at 9.29.32 AM

Well, technically not Apple the entity, but an employee of Apple named Anders Carlsson announced WebKit 2 yesterday and for geeks it could easily have been a Jobsian "One more thing..."

This is a heads-up that we will shortly start landing patches for a new WebKit framework that we at Apple have been working on for a while. We currently call this new framework "WebKit2".

WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it.

They're also offering non-blocking API which Clint Ecker at Ars Technica</a says:

should result in much more responsive applications which hook into WebKit2. Theoretically, while the renderer is rendering something, the main application loop can move on to doing something else as requested by a user.

WebKit is the open-source browser rendering engine that originated as KHTML/Konquerer on Linux but was taken under Apple's wing and became the core of Safari on both the desktop and the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. (Google also uses it for Chrome, Android, and Chrome OS, Palm for the webOS browser, and RIM is developing a WebKit browser for BlackBerry).

What this means for iPhone and iPad users, of course, is that we'll eventually get faster versions of Safari that when one page crashes just drops us back into another page rather than taking the whole browser down with it. Put that together with the other advances in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript (including frameworks) Apple has been pushing out, and the future of the web for developers and users gets really interesting.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

WebKit2 with speed and crash-proofing -- Apple's other big announcement


The gap between the native apps and the webapps is blurred further on. Apart from the backbone of a well managed App store, the native apps have not much technical advantage over the webapps i suppose.

I think you missed the < in your WebKit2 link, Rene...
@Manish There are still advantages to native apps. Namely, they don't necessarily rely entirely on the device's connectivity - although as time goes on I suspect that will become less and less of a problem.

@Manish : also keep in mind that an HTML5 web application is nowhere near as robust as a native app. The whole Cache Manifest feature of HTML5 for allowing "Offline Mode" for WebApps is not as robust as many developers would want.