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[The Verge] Opera shows off new WebKit-based 'Ice' mobile browser

post #1 of 8
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Quote:
...In what's the biggest change, however, Ice will reportedly drop the Presto engine currently used by Opera browsers in favor of WebKit — the same browser engine that powers Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome. Opera CEO Lars Boilesen reportedly said part of the goal of Ice was to be able to take those browsers on directly. "Opera mini is great, but it is not a fully-fledged offering like Chrome or Safari," he's quoted as saying. "There are too many sites it doesn't work with." In its effort to combat the two mobile heavyweights, Opera is said to be targeting a February release for the new browser on both Android and iOS....

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/19/3892646/opera-shows-off-new-webkit-based-ice-mobile-browser

More at source.
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post #2 of 8
I think this belongs in the rumour mill until there is sufficient evidence that it is true. For starters, CEOs do not bag out their own products. Secondly, Opera generally does not commit to release dates, even loose ones. That is why you can't find a release schedule anywhere.
    
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post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomizer View Post

I think this belongs in the rumour mill until there is sufficient evidence that it is true. For starters, CEOs do not bag out their own products. Secondly, Opera generally does not commit to release dates, even loose ones. That is why you can't find a release schedule anywhere.

Either way, this is interesting! I hope it gets put into desktop use, too. Is Opera full webkit? I thought it went off their own engine?
Edited by Domino - 1/22/13 at 3:48am
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post

Either way, this is interesting! I hope it gets put into desktop use, too. Is Opera full webkit? I thought it went off their own engine?

It does - Presto engine. This incarnation, however is using WebKit smile.gif
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post #5 of 8
Very interesting indeed.
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post #6 of 8
Can someone explain the difference between browser engines so I understand? Because I really don't understand the difference and what all these engines actually do to make this change a good or bad one. Thanks.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomizer View Post

I think this belongs in the rumour mill until there is sufficient evidence that it is true. For starters, CEOs do not bag out their own products. Secondly, Opera generally does not commit to release dates, even loose ones. That is why you can't find a release schedule anywhere.

The video at theVerge was pulled by an Opera copyright claim. If the video isn't theirs, then they are vulnerable to legal action, so I doubt they would pull a "rumor reel" that wasn't true.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

Can someone explain the difference between browser engines so I understand? Because I really don't understand the difference and what all these engines actually do to make this change a good or bad one. Thanks.

Basically, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) decides that specific HTML tags and CSS classes should do specific things in specific order (to change the look of the page). The problem is that the spec is huge and constantly growing.

As a result, no set of coders have yet developed a program that matches what the spec calls for. To make things worse, the people who program the layout engines sometimes add features that the spec doesn't call for. If these become popular enough, they might later be added to the spec, but until that point they are proprietary to whichever program designed them (in fact, most if not all spec changes since the 90's have been from such proprietary extensions being standardized).

When an extension is up for standardization, the committee debates which way to do something and often the layout engine programmers just try their best to match the preliminary standard (which means that they must frequently change their code as the spec evolves).

There are currently four major programs for rendering webpages:
Trident -- used by IE
Gecko -- used by Mozilla
Presto -- used by Opera
webkit -- used by Chrome, Safari, Blackberry, Qt, WebOS, Meego, etc

Each has it's own code that attempts to match the standard specs and each has its own proprietary extensions that the developers hope will become standardized.

It's worth noting that each of these engines has a standardized proprietary CSS tag (what an oxymoron) that can be used to access the proprietary extensions (and sometimes not-quite-finalized standards). Opera's problem here is that many developers only use proprietary tags for webkit and gecko (with lots of them only using the -webkit- tags). In cases where Opera has a feature and Chrome has the same feature, the Opera users can't use the feature because the developers were too lazy to add the -O- tag.

This problem is at it's worst in the mobile world where Android, iOS, and Blackberry all use webkit. Since these three make up 80%+ of the market, it is even more tempting for developers to skip optimizing for Opera users.

At this point, Opera has three choices. The first is to ignore this and give it's users subpar access to websites. The second is to simply look at the -webkit- tags and see if opera can use them anyway (this is bad because it breaks the standard). The third option is to drop Presto and use Webkit.



I question if this is a positive move. Competing teams have helped to drive development and standardization while pushing new ideas. Opera has historically had many great ideas (the most easily recognized is probably CSS). Trident could die in a fire without hurting standards (in fact, it seems the only purpose of trident is to hold back the standardization process and keep developers from being able to give customers the best possible designs). On the other hand, having Opera as a third engine developer keeps the market a little more balanced while their push to adhere to the written standards is the best of all browsers (despite what their small marketshare would have you think) and forces the others to keep moving forward.
post #8 of 8
Now I understand why some websites render properly in FF and not in IE or Opera, or any of the possible combinations.

Thanks a lot for clarifying it, I was always under the impression they all used the same basic engine and then built their own skin, extensions, etc.
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