Google dumped Apple’s open source rendering engine WebKit today while announcing their own new WebKit based engine titled “Blink."
The new “Blink” engine is Google’s answer to the diverging visions Apple and Google have of WebKit’s future and functionality. Google claims the change will speed up development for both WebKit and their Blink engines, but it isn’t easily apparent how adding another rendering engine into the mix will make the development process easier.
However, according to Google’s blog post the advent of Blink is a natural progression. Google already heavily modified the WebKit engine in 2008 with WebKit2 for its Chrome browser. Google’s browser relied heavily on a multi-process architecture, and WebKit at the time didn’t allow for such an architecture. Google's answer was WebKit2, which it released in 2010, and added multi-process features. The project became cumbersome for Google, as the company’s own internal architecture, WebKit2, and WebKit varied too much, and “slowed down the collective pace of innovation,” Google said in a blog post.
The logic behind the split is Google will now be able to focus on developing the features they need within their own architecture (which is still based on WebKit) while leaving WebKit to evolve on its own. Obviously Blink adds another layer of complexity to the web development landscape, a reality that Google itself is trying to play down by reassuring developers Blink will be used initially for internal architecture.
“Throughout this transition, we’ll collaborate closely with other browser vendors to move the web forward and preserve the compatibility that made it a successful ecosystem.” -- Google