WebKit Community Release

WebKitLast evening Mark Rowe and myself posted an appeal to the webkit-dev mailing list, asking for opinions on our plan for a WebKit Community Release. Our intention is to make a stable version of the current WebKit tree, especially aimed at bundling with other applications. Applications like Macromedia Contribute, Sandvox, CSS Edit, Xyle Scope and lots of others use the WebKit that is bundled with Mac OS X, while they may want more from their application then the system bundled WebKit can offer.

Our intention is NOT to replace the system WebKit with the one we should release as a community, but to make it available to other developers. Our three main goals are:

  1. To make it easier for developers to get access to stable-yet-improved builds without waiting for Apple’s sometimes lengthy release cycle.
  2. To introduce more stability into the bleeding edge in an effort to reduce regressions.
  3. To provide more angles for developers to work on WebKit with more visible results.

Below is a copy of this mail, which can also be found in the webkit-dev archives.

Dear fellow WebKit developers,

in the last 11 months, lots and lots of work has been done in the WebKit community. Bugs have been fixed, new features have been added, the code has dramatically changed and improved. Lots of good come from this: we have seen fixes slipping into OS X updates and we will probably see a majorly improved WebKit in the next major OS X release.

We, however, feel we can do more. Applications like Adium, Colloquy, Sandvox, OmniWeb and lots and lots of others, are using WebKit and would probably love to be able to have a stable version of WebKit, but with all (or at least a lot) of our improvements in it. At this point, these applications have three choices:

  • use the system WebKit, which is way behind what we are doing right now;
  • use a nightly, and face all the consequences;
  • pick a nightly and try to make it stable, like the Karelia developers are doing now.

If we, as a community, could create a stable “WebKit Community Release”, we could provide people with our updates. We could point people to it who just want to use a better Safari but don’t want to download a new nightly each day. This would probably also make developers of other applications very happy. Lastly, this would be a good way to attract new developers, because we would be releasing a product to use for everyone out there. This means getting our results available to the general public faster in a less unstable form.

By now, if you’re still reading, you will think: what would this take?

Well, we as a community would need to really want this. This will mean work, especially because we will probably be maintaining two branches, a HEAD and a STABLE one. We would probably also need to create some form of organizational structure, and do that without losing our sense of community. We think however, that everything can be solved, if we are all behind this plan.

To summarize, there are three key goals:

  1. To make it easier for developers to get access to stable-yet-improved builds without waiting for Apple’s sometimes lengthy release cycle.
  2. To introduce more stability into the bleeding edge in an effort to reduce regressions.
  3. To provide more angles for developers to work on WebKit with more visible results.

Now, we want to hear YOUR opinion. Write large epistels, or two lines saying you like or dislike it, but let us hear from you. Let’s show ourselves just how vibrant our community is.

We’d like to end this with a quote:

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, and professionals built the Titanic.”

Kind regards,

Mark Rowe
Joost de Valk

[tags]WebKit, Safari[/tags]

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