Opera flips to WebKit as it focuses on smartphones
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 13 Feb 2013 at 09:49
Opera has confirmed it will stop developing its own rendering engine in favour of WebKit.
At the moment, the Norwegian browser develops its own rendering engine, rather than use the WebKit engine used by many other browsers, including Safari and Chrome.
Opera said the changes were "primarily an under the hood change", but said users should see better site compatibility.
One change developers may notice is Chromium supports the WebM, Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis media codecs, but does not support H.254 or MP3 codecs.
The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better
Opera said it originally made its own rendering engine in an effort to drive standards, but said that's now best done via WebKit.
"The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better," said the chief technology officer of Opera Software, Håkon Wium Lie. "It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need."
"It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further," he said, adding Opera will start contributing to the WebKit and Chromium open source communities, and has already submitted a patch to improve multi-column layout.
"The shift to WebKit means more of our resources can be dedicated to developing new features and the user-friendly solutions that can be expected from a company that invented so many of the features that are today being used by everyone in the browser industry," he added.
The transition will be gradual, Opera said. The first browser to switch will be the smartphone browsers, but others will start to move over with their next updates.
The move was expected after Opera showed off an experimental browser running WebKit called ICE last month. "As a leading innovator in browsers, we are very excited that ICE received such great buzz," Wium Lie said.
Wium Lie said Opera will share more about the ICE project in the future, and will reveal its Android browser at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.
Opera also revealed it has hit the 300 million milestone, including all monthly users across its phone, tablet, TV and PC browsers.
Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software, said the browsers saw the "fastest acceleration in user growth" in the last little while. "Now, we are shifting into the next gear to claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market."
Is your business a social business? For helpful info and tips visit our hub.
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy