I’ve noticed that there’s been a little bit of confusion out there about WebKit. As new people come over to check out the WebKit nightly builds, it may not be exactly clear what they’re getting. So I wanted to write a quick post to clear a few things up.
A common misconception is that WebKit is another web browser, but it’s not a browser. WebKit is a browser engine. Safari is a browser which uses that engine.
So what do you get when you download a WebKit nightly build?
You get WebKit.app, a wrapper application around a shiny new copy of the WebKit OS X framework for Tiger. When you run WebKit.app, you’re actually running the shipping version of Safari with the latest version of the WebKit framework. Nothing on your system gets replaced, and you can download and run as many nightly builds as you’d like.
If you’ve downloaded a WebKit nightly, and you’re wondering whether a feature is a part of WebKit or a part of Safari, an easy way to look at it is this:
WebKit begins where the chrome ends.
Safari features — URL field, Tabs, Bookmarks, Find
WebKit features — Anything in the webpage itself (frames, form controls, kick-ass CSS3 features, blazing page load speeds)
I hope this helps to clear things up.