Adobe Web Platform team director of engineering Vincent Hardy has said he believes Google’s Blink project will benefit the web, despite fears it could lead to fragmentation.
In a blog post titled, 'The Changing Web Platform Landscape: More Fragmentation?', Hardy noted how the web industry had, in a matter of weeks, gone from worrying about a WebKit monopoly (perceived or otherwise) to being concerned about fragmentation issues.
In Hardy’s opinion, though, the current situation could turn out to be beneficial: “The web is bigger than any one of its leading browser implementations and too important to be limited to a single code base - even if that implementation has variations.”
He quoted Brendan Eich’s point that the web “needs multiple implementations of its evolving standards to keep them interoperable,” and considered this “central to delivering on the promise of the open web,” because a “single implementation does not establish a standard”.
Hardy thought the addition of Blink would “strengthen an already healthy browser competition”, although he mirrored what Opera’s Bruce Lawson recently told .net in that interoperability will remain key.
For Adobe’s part, Hardy said the creative giant would contribute to Blink because it’s the core engine that powers the ‘web design surface’ in the company’s Edge tools. However, he maintained the company would also continue to contribute code to Gecko and WebKit, and hoped the future of browsers would be “diversity without fragmentation”.
From a WebKit standpoint, the concern in the industry (as recently reported by Ars Technica and others) now appears to be more about a troubled future than dominance — quite a change of fortunes.
However, ex-MacUser editor and long-time Apple pundit Ian Betteridge argued Blink could, indirectly, turn out to be a “really good thing” for Apple, forcing the company to “show its mettle and raise its game [with WebKit], particularly with regard to security”.
And on the suggestion Apple may give up and slink off, despite statistics regularly showing iOS device owners spend lots of time online, Opera’s Bruce Lawson told .net he considered the notion preposterous: “It’s a silly argument. Obviously, I can’t speak for my friends in Cupertino, but I can see no reason why Apple would say: 'Oh well, Google has left WebKit, so we’ll just forget about the web'. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”