Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: The Future of Epiphany

On Tue, 2008-04-01 at 15:21 +0200, Christian Persch wrote:
> Hello;
>   Over the last few months, the Epiphany development team has been
> discussing the future of the Gnome web browser. We feel that we haven't
> been living up to the full potential of a well-integrated Gnome
> application, due to both internal and external constraints.
>   The Epiphany user interface is built on top of an abstraction layer
> above the web rendering engine, enabling us to support multiple
> back-ends. Currently Epiphany supports the Mozilla browser engine
> (Gecko), and the WebKit engine.
>   The Epiphany dependency on Gecko creates a number of problems for us.
> The Gecko release cycle is very long (e.g. Gecko 1.8 was released with
> Firefox 1.5 in 2005; 1.8.1 with Firefox 2.0 in 2006 and 1.9 will be
> released sometime this year with Firefox 3.0), prone to delays and not
> synchronised with the unvarying 6-month Gnome release cycle.
> Furthermore, it and the feature work on Gecko are mostly driven by the
> Firefox browser, our main competitor on the Gnome desktop. Also the
> embedding API of Gecko (GtkMozEmbed) has been unmaintained and stagnant
> for a long time. Finally, the current plans for "Mozilla 2.0" bring much
> uncertainty to us, as well as much work to account for their proposed
> big API changes.
>   We are a small team, with only one maintainer and a hand-full of
> regular contributors. Maintaining the abstraction layer, and the Gecko
> back-end require lot of effort and time. Much time alone is spent on
> keeping up with Gecko API changes, and we have not had much
> contributions to the Gecko back-end in a long time.
>   Therefore we have decided to radically change the future of Epiphany
> in the upcoming 2.24 development cycle. We will drop the abstraction
> layer, making the code more maintainable, allowing faster development
> and enabling us to take advantage of the features of the back-end
> directly. 
>   Furthermore, we will choose only one web engine back-end to support
> and concentrate our efforts on it instead of spreading our efforts to
> multiple back-ends and restricting us to the common features all
> back-ends support.
>   This single back-end will be * WebKit *.
>   We see several advantages in WebKit. These include:
>   * The WebKit APIs. The API has been designed from the ground up, and
> feels like any other GObject based API. A two-way GObject bindings to
> the web page's DOM, and to JavaScript is in development;
> this will allow us and our Extensions to access the DOM directly, which
> hasn't been possible before in Epiphany in either C or Python.
>   * WebKit uses Gnome technologies directly. Similarly to Gecko, it uses
> Cairo for graphics, and Pango for the rendering. On top of that, it uses
> libsoup for the network layer, and GStreamer for the <video> and <audio>
> tag support in HTML5.
>   * Starting in time for Gnome 2.24, WebKit/GTK+ will implement a
> 6-month release cycle synchronised with the Gnome release schedule.
>   * We feel that WebKit has the momentum, and can bring more developers
> to both Epiphany directly and the Gnome platform by extension.
> WebKit/GTK+ already has more people working on it than are working on
> either GtkMozEmbed or the Epiphany gecko back-end.
>   * WebKit is a better match for *other* uses in Gnome, e.g. as a HTML
> widget in Yelp, in Devhelp, and as an editor in Evolution replacing
> GtkHTML.

Does WebKit provide a html editor? I always thought it was just a html
rendering engine. I was planning for WebKit/Gtk for Evolution, was taken
back due to editor . I definitely don't want to use one for rendering
and another for editing.

Anyways, good decision IMO and all the best.


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