Course Correction

January 25th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted

I don’t ordinarily get all het up about a developer announcing an API change, but:

OmniWeb 5.5 status update:

> First, some background: starting with OmniWeb 4.5, we’ve been using Apple’s open source WebCore framework (based on khtml) as our rendering engine. Unfortunately (as you’ve all seen), WebCore doesn’t have a stable API which means that (depending on how much has changed in WebCore) it can take quite a while to integrate new versions of WebCore when they’re released.

> Fortunately for us the picture changed in a big way last year at WWDC, when Apple opened up the rest of their WebKit source code: WebKit does have stable API, so applications built on top of it can upgrade to newer versions of WebKit without having to rewrite their code with each release. OmniWeb 5.5 will be the first version of OmniWeb to be based on WebKit rather than WebCore, taking advantage of all of the latest performance enhancements in Safari 2 as well as making it easier to stay on top of those changes in the future.

That’s pretty good news, and the fact that it looks like they’ll be keeping the next release in the 5.x family might mean getting to use it without having to pay any upgrade fees, which would be out of the question after the pig-like performance of the 5.x series under WebCore.

From May:

> Sometimes, in my darker moments, I think the enthusiasm I read for the latest releases of OmniWeb are less out of genuine love for the product and more out of belief that if the software was bought and paid for, it’d be embarrassing to admit that it’s become a dog.

> And I don’t think history will be very kind to the developers for deciding to fork WebCore: It seems to have made for an outlier browser on an outlier platform, which is pretty much two strikes right off the bat.

> OmniGroup isn’t so sure either. John Gruber picked up on a post to their discussion list where the product manager for the browser notes that keeping up with Apple is a constant game of catch-up. Some users have given them a continual break for this approach based on half-baked notions that “all those features slow the browser down.” Try “all those features, coupled with chasing Apple and Safari, are dividing developer efforts” and I think you’d be closer to the truth.

So … we’ll see.

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