Bruce Lawson on Opera’s Transfer to WebKit – A Listing Aside

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This morning’s announcement that Opera intends to desert its Presto rendering engine has left designers and builders with quite a lot of questions. I despatched a couple of over to Opera’s Bruce Lawson to shed somewhat gentle on the scenario.

So. “Any thrilling information on the earth of Opera at this time,” he requested knowingly.

We introduced that Opera will change its rendering engine to WebKit and JavaScript engine to V8 by constructing on prime of Chromium (the open-source browser that powers Google Chrome). We’ve been speaking to the WebKit undertaking and a few of its contributory organizations for some time, and at this time we submitted a small however symbolic patch to WebKit that may carry all WebKit browsers’ CSS multicolumn help as much as the extent we have now in Opera’s present proprietary Presto engine.

Opera for desktops, Opera Cell, and Opera Mini are all shifting over to [Chromium] WebKit? Does this imply that -o prefixing is dead-and-buried?

Ultimately, sure—I don’t have timescales but; clearly it’s not a trivial piece of labor so there’s numerous testing concerned. This modification hasn’t occurred but, and Presto-based browsers will stay available in the market for some time but, so our recommendation is because it’s at all times been: code to requirements and to not browsers, use all vendor prefixes (together with the tiny few that we didn’t take away from Presto, and take a look at totally throughout browsers and units.

The developer neighborhood appears fairly divided on this. Some say we’re shifting in direction of an IE6-style “monoculture,” and a few appear to assume there’s sufficient variety in WebKit implementations themselves that it’s a non-issue. What do you assume?

I used to be initially nervous, however it appears to me that WebKit has glorious variety. And, after all, there isn’t a monolithic WebKit. PPK counted 19 (I consider) on cellular alone. After all, I’ve no crystal ball, however the truth that there are disparate, aggressive gamers in WebKit means that it’s unlikely to stagnate the best way IE6 did.

…it’s also noteworthy how the range of the undertaking is rising, with new gamers beginning to present a major exercise.

Report on the exercise of corporations within the WebKit undertaking

What influence will this have on internet requirements? Will this imply Opera has some say in Chromium’s roadmap, or are they kind of beholden to Apple/Google’s selections now?

We’ve got independence so as to add (or take away) something we like from WebKit or Chromium by way of our fork, however we intention to advertise interoperability, not hurt it. We’ve got eighteen years of expertise making browsers, and have participated in making many requirements which might be integral to the trendy internet (Media Queries, HTML5, native video, and so forth.) so we have now numerous concepts to contribute.

Can we count on radical modifications to Opera merchandise throughout the subsequent model or two, or will it’s a extra gradual course of? I can’t think about a model new rendering engine will simply drop in clear.

A brand new model for Android is being demoed at Cell World Congress in Barcelona on the finish of the month (come and say howdy—I’m the man with the pink mohawk, stuffed into an inexpensive swimsuit and uncomfortable sneakers). After that I can’t actually converse to timescales as I merely don’t know but.

Will this unlock Opera devs to work on new options, now that their major concern isn’t simply sustaining platform parity?

Sure—that’s the explanation for doing it. We’ve got an incredible fame for inventing issues which were broadly copied and have improved the buyer expertise of shopping for all—issues like Velocity Dial, knowledge compression, tabbed shopping, and mouse gestures, and we need to concentrate on these.

What enhancements can we count on with the transfer to WebKit—accessibility, for instance?

I can’t touch upon particular person options of future merchandise. However you’ll be able to make sure that I’ll be combating to get accessibility enhancements in there, simply as I’ve fought to get them added to specs.

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