The Yahoo! user interface blog has an interview with Lars Knoll and George Staikos on KHTML and WebKit. In the first ten minutes of the 30 minutes video Lars is talking about the evolution of KHTML in the history from its beginning till 2003, when Apple announced the KHTML integration into Safari. After that presentation George takes over and explains the situation with WebKit and Konqueror.
Intersting is what Geroge mentioned about the current development: Around the last weekend the Qt4 port of the browser was to be integrated into WebKit – actually I thought that already happened, but anyway. So soon you will be able to access nightly builds of WebKit to compile it on Linux.
After 20 minutes George also showed some demos of WebKit in Safari and then with WebKit in Qt4 which worked nice (well, until it crashed, but it was a demo…). He also showed konqueror accessing the same side (yahoo.com) which just gets a poor page version as long as the agent string is KHTML – but as soon as he switched the agent string to safari almost everything worked fine. His point was: the content developers should “Put the pressure back to browser developers”. I think that this message is very important and completely right: it is not the job of the content developers to write different page versions for different browsers, it is the job of the browser developers to write good engines. And since all engines are working in the same direction and are comparable in the set of features the content developers should not care about the browser string!
But, well, this is a legacy of the Internet Explorer 5 and 6 times. It is deep in the mind of the content developers that they have to build different web pages for different browsers, and we will need years to get their mind back to another way of thinking. “Thanks” Microsoft yet again…
Anyway, George also talked about the future: and it looks like WebKit will be part of KDE 4, but possibly just as an option. Together with KPart there will be the option to set either KHTML or WebKit as the default engine. KDE just has to see which one fits the needs of the users and developers better.
I just hope that the WebKit team is open enough to also give the KHTML developers a home – after all people like Lars and George are the founders of the KHTML engine! I still think that bundled powers under the hood of WebKit but with a strong KDE developers team would be the best way to go. Just imagine: a browser developed by KDE, Apple, Nokia and Adobe. Doesn’t that sound pretty awesome?