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Old 06-03-2014, 11:41 AM   #1
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A high-profile fork: one year of Blink and Webkit

In 2013 the browser wars sprouted a new rendering engine: Blink. When Blink forked in April 2013, Webkit had a total of 1.8 million lines of C++, 2,500 commits per month and was the most popular browser engine. On mobile, Webkit backed the top 3 browsers (Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Android Browser), accounting for the majority of mobile eyeballs. This post is a look at the Blink/Webkit fork one year later: how have the projects diverged, who is driving them, and what are they up to?

What is a browser engine?
Both WebKit and Blink are more than just browser engines--for example Webkit contains a first-class javascript engine (JSC) and two application layers (Webkit1, Webkit2) which are not in Blink. For this discussion, the "core" engine code is the common code shared by Blink and Webkit such as Source/WebCore and Source/WTF. This core code is what positions and draws the text you're reading now.

By not understanding the subtle differences between the projects, the tech media reported Blink removed 8.8 million lines of code. How Blink manages to run on -7 million lines of code is a mystery. ("git diff --stat" shows that 8.8 million lines were removed post-fork in Blink, primarily layout test and supporting images.) A joke by Andreas Kling was later misreported as WebKit removing 8.8 million lines of ShadowDOM.

The projects are quickly diverging due to differences in resources and priorities. The graph below shows the differences in commit rate over time. Blink's faster trajectory isn't unexpected since Google was the top contributor to Webkit.
More at Browser Gnomes...

Interesting to see some empirical data one year post-fork.



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