WebKit has always focused on performance, web standards compliance, security, and relatively understandable code. But, as recently pointed out by Camino developer Mike Pinkerton, this doesn’t mean much when users can’t browse to all the sites they care about.
Many have suggested over the years that WebKit should be abandoned in favor of Gecko, the browser engine with second-place market share according to studies like the Net Applications Survey. But why go with number two when you can go straight to the top? That’s why I am pleased to announce that WebKit will be discontinued in favor of Trident, the engine inside Windows Internet Explorer. Like OpenDarwin before us, we will be shutting down.
You may wonder how we can use Trident in Mac OS X browsers like Safari. Fortunately, on Intel-based Macs, there is a solution: running IE under Parallels, and using Mozilla’s XPCOM to bridge the gap. This means we will discontinue the WebKit Objective-C API in favor of a COM API.
IE has often been criticized for its lack of standards compliance and long gaps in development. But Microsoft says they will do way better in the future, and we see no reason not to trust them with the future of the web.
It’s been a great ride these past five years. Please join me in giving a fond farewell to WebKit, and a hearty welcome to our new Microsoft overlords.
Yes, this was written on April 1st 2007.