Last week in.. WebKit and Chromium!

Published on in Browser Vendors, Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 7

It’s hard to keep track of huge open source projects which receive hundreds of updates per week. In case of WebKit and Chromium, a total of 1113 changes were landed in the past seven days alone, including lots of new features, enhancements and of course tons of bugfixes. Inspired by Paul Irish and Divya Manian, I’m going to experiment to see whether it’s doable to regularly write (smaller) updates like these.

In the past seven days WebKit has seen 396 commits done by about 80 authors. A decent number of them were done by Google engineers working on storage related systems. Firstly there is the File API specification; Chromium has been supporting various asynchronous File Reader functions for a few months now.

Last Thursday Eric Uhrhane committed the first part of the File Writer spec. Even though it’s only a placeholder, it shows that Google’s actively working on implementing the features. Official word on synchronous methods is still pending.

The other storage system they’re working on is a specification I wasn’t aware of myself, a Directories and System extension to the File API. The initial bits of the implementation were committed by Kinuko Yasuda on Monday. Being built entirely on top of the File API, it’s likely that the main use-case for the implementation will be Chromium OS. Regardless, most of the use-cases would be useful in current browsers as well.

Folks at Apple have been busy with improving the quality of the WebKit2 interface. Windowless plugins can now paint and receive mouse events, which means that the Vimeo Flash Player can be used again on Windows builds. A number of improvements for the media playback have been added as well, such as improved handling of detection of the “application/octet-stream” content-type, as well as restoring the intrinsic size of a video after loading its poster. Simon Fraser solved a number of random crashes which became more obvious now that accelerated compositing has been implemented.

Also exciting news is, even though it has been working for a while already, that support for inline MathML has been announced for Safari nightlies. MathML is a way of rendering complex math straight in your browser, pretty much like SVG is for graphics. MathML can be, just like SVG, included in any HTML5 page. Henri Sivonen has created a nice example demonstrating both technologies.

Within the Chromium team work is hard on its way to perfectly integrate ANGLE into the browser. DirectX libraries will be distributed with the Windows versions and a public experiment has started to gather statistics about GPU capabilities. The browser also received per-plugin content settings, although it’s still protected behind a runtime flag.

The version of Chromium’s trunk has been updated to 500, which certainly is a milestone. An early implementation of the remote WebDriver API has landed, allowing basic remote control of your browser. Finally, the V8 JavaScript engine has been updated to version 2.3.9 (changelog).

Other recent changes

Of course, with a total of 1113 commits in both repositories, there’s a lot which hasn’t been mentioned yet!

  • Eric and Tony have solved some more issues around the HTML5 Tree Builder.
  • The Qt port now supports touch events in WebKit2, courtesy of Juha Savolainen.
  • Chromium’s accelerated compositing rendering logic has been refactored.
  • <style> elements within <noscript> are now ignored if JavaScript is enabled.
  • Kenneth Russell now is a WebKit reviewer (congratulations!).
  • Some SVG Pattern fixes were landed by Nikolas Zimmermann.
  • Pushed SPDY streams in Chromium now get closed automatically as well.
  • Accelerated Compositing for <canvas> will be compiled in by default.
  • Chromium can now use the Windows 7 Location Provider for Geolocation.

Even though it’s just a week, an incredible amount of work happens within these two huge open source projects. In order to include other browsers (Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer) and specifications, I’ll have to cut back on the details quite a bit. This week the CSS Working Group is meeting face-to-face in Oslo, I’m sure that’ll be interesting to include next week :colone;;);

13 Responses to “Last week in.. WebKit and Chromium!”

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Nice summary, it was so good to see that so many things are happening in the browser world. Could read notes like these in a weekly or monthly basis 😛

Great summary, Peter! Please do make this a regular, even if it’s every 2 weeks, not every week. I’m maintaining the “This week in REST” blog and I’m finding that a bi-weekly publishing freq works best for me.

Thanks Peter, looking forward to your next post. Please keep it up.


August 24, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Thanks for the summary. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it for the better of our community, right? Thanks!


August 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm

This is great. I have been reading all of the revision log for Chromium since the project has started because there was nothing like what you just wrote – and this has a great extra – WebKit updates as well.

This is really great, I will surely be a subscriber. If you need help, I am going through the code reviews and there are a few things that are still not being committed over there that you can also put as part of the updates. Let me know if you are interested in my input before each post.

Maximiliano Villarreal

August 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Great!, thanks for your work gathering this data. One more reason to stop by your blog 🙂


August 25, 2010 at 4:27 am

Great idea! It is so hard to keep track of the rapid development pace of these projects. Way to step up to the plate!


August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Thank you for the feedback! 🙂

@Jon It’s not too bad if you’ve got the right tools. I wrote some scripts to list and filter the commits. I still need to build something similar for closed issues/bugs.

@PhistucK Cheers for the offer! I’m going to write at least two more posts, both times modifying the setup a bit. Next week I’d like to include more issues and bits about the CSS WG meeting. After that something more stable would be great, I’ll send you an e-mail about it then.

@Peter Gasston I was aware of your post! I’ll link back to it next week

[…] “After being repeatedly nudged by people to start writing about changes to WebKit and Chromium, which I had been monitoring for a long time already, I wrote my first article back in August 2010. […]

[…] Remember that your words can be a very powerful tool for pushing education on the Web forward. For this reason I encourage you to consider writing about what you do and learn — write tutorials, create demos, post gists, write essays. “After being repeatedly nudged by people to start writing about changes to WebKit and Chromium, which I had been monitoring for a long time already, I wrote my first article back in August 2010. […]