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Webkit powers lightweight Web 2.0-compliant browser

Oct 4, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

This article introduces the Origyn Web Browser (OWB), an open-source browser based on Apple's Webkit rendering engine and targeting consumer devices such as phones, portable media players, and set-top boxes. The paper was written by Jean-Charles Verdie, CTO of OWB maintainer Pleyo.

Pleyo offers development and consulting services around OWB, which is released under a BSD license. In addition to Apple's open source Webkit rendering engine, OWB contains an OWB abstraction layer (OwBaL) aimed at simplifying porting to new software environments, and reducing footprint by enabling the use of existing system libraries.

OWB appears to be the first open source browser based on Webkit, which forked from the KDE's KHTML project. In general, Webkit has a smaller footprint than other Web 2.0-capable rendering engines, such as Gecko. However, Gecko has a larger installed base, thanks to the popularity of Firefox on Windows PCs.

Webkit is perhaps best-known for powering the many HTML-capable applications in Apple's Mac OS X (such as the Safari browser, Mail application, and so on). Webkit is also used in Apple's iPhone, and in Nokia's S60 OS for its flagship smartphones. Another high-profile Webkit user is Adobe, which bases its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) web development toolsuite on the open source rendering engine.

To learn more about OWB, read Verdie's informative whitepaper, which includes many excellent diagrams, as well as screenshots and photos of the OWB browser running on popular devices, including the FIC Neo1973 (pictured above) and Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. The paper can be found here.

In related news, Trolltech earlier this week announced plans to integrate Webkit with its Qt desktop and embedded development frameworks.

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