Google this afternoon announced that it was creating a new rendering engine that will split off from WebKit and possibly have an impact in the direction web development, and browser development progresses.
"This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem," wrote Adam Barth, Google software engineer on The Chromium Blog.
Google says that in the short term there will be no major changes for web developers, but the introduction of a new rendering engine, one that diverges from WebKit, could potentially mean that either Apple and other companies will have to move in the same direction, or that Google loses its bet and, hence, loses market share.
As Barth writes "(o)ver the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs." Google lists Blink's mission as "To improve the open web through technical innovation and good citizenship." We'll see, though there is no question this will shake things up a bit (and hopefully lead to more innovation).
Here are takes on this from some of the tech sites: CNET, ArsTechnica, The Next Web, and TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe...
Mozilla announced today that it was working with Samsung on "an advanced technology Web browser engine called Servo," Brendan Eich, CTO, Mozilla wrote today.
We are now pleased to announce with Samsung that together we are bringing both the Rust programming language and Servo, the experimental web browser engine, to Android and ARM. This is an exciting step in the evolution of both projects that will allow us to start deeper research with Servo on mobile. Samsung has already contributed an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android, along with many other improvements. You can try this now by downloading the code from Github, but it’s just the beginning.