Friday, March 16, 2007

The spinning spider

Some interesting activities cook inside GNUstep and GAP projects! Dr. Schaller is working actively in a WebKit implementation for myStep. Now I and Peter Cooper are helping him to bring the Framework into GNUstep, it already compiles! Although a lot needs to be done and SimpleWebKit may never reach the completeness of Apple's implementation I still think it is an interesting task and a total objetive-c approach should not only prove the power of the language but also give us advantages in the future regarding efficiency and customization.
As soon as the framework compiled I started the development of Vespucci, the program that will be GAP's Browser. The screenshot shows the debug output of the Current WebKit, interpreted really from a simple HTML string.
Maybe after the failure of the original port attempt of the WebKit by means of wrappers, this is the first screenshot of a GNUstep Browser? Stay tuned!


Roman Kennke said...

Nice. This reminds of the first little steps of the JGecko engine. :-)

Mark Rowe said...

It would be best to avoid confusion between Webkit and SimpleWebKit by refraining from referring to the latter as WebKit. They're very different beasts.

I feel compelled to mention the incredibly large amount of work that will be required to bring SimpleWebKit up to a reasonable standard of web compatibility. HTML, XHTML, and CSS are not simple specifications. Supporting them to a sufficient degree to have a usable web browser is quite an ask. Add in the requirement for handling technologies like JavaScript, the HTML and CSS DOMs, and browser plugins and you significantly increase the complexity and man-hours required.

When the original GNUstep port of WebKit was attempted the WebKit codebase wasn't structured in a fashion conducive to ports. We now have one very active port to the Qt toolkit, and semi-active ports to Gdk and Windows. Adobe has also ported WebKit to their Flash-based rendering system. We are actively working on assisting porting efforts and helping WebKit work on as many platforms and toolkits as is practical. I would strongly encourage any interested developers to consider porting WebKit directly rather than wasting a large amount of time in reimplementation. Get in touch with us if anyone is interested in having a go.

Nicolas said...

I must agree with mark... it seems a bit wasteful to work on a new html renderer. But hey, it is interesting and fun, and could certainly be used anyway for things like documentation (helpviewer..), so it's really up to you. Can't say I'm convainced about that path in order to have a really good browser though... (there's a reason omnigroup switched to WebKit...)