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New Developer
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-06-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Why not use a better browser engine?

Hi all!

 

Has any work been done towards implementing an alternative browser engine like WebKit on the BlackBerry? I'm seeing WebKit used in more and more mobile devices (iPhone, Pre, some Nokia and LG devices) and the prospect of having close-to-desktop rendering is really appealing. I understand that because WebKit is mostly C++, this would require some native code interace that only RIM would be able to implement. What stake does RIM have in keeping their proprietary layout engine?

 

Thanks!

Guru I
Posts: 19,020
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Passport, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: Bouygues _ SFR

Re: Why not use a better browser engine?

hello,

some information about mobile browser engines : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_browser
every single mobile browser engine is proprietary except :
  • Webkit (combination of Lesser-GPL and an obscure BSD-like licence)
  • Mozilla Gecko (Mozilla Public Licence, which looks mainly like GPL licence)

 

That being said :

  • Webkit is used mainly by Google Android browser and Apple Safari and Apple Safari Mobile browsers. Webkit is made of C++ so it is nearly impossible to port it to J2ME (which is the language of the BlackBerry OS).
  • BOLT browser uses webkit too, but in a serverside implementation so C++ on the server is possible to create a specitic webpage that is then sent to the BlackBerry and then the layout is processed in J2ME (Java 2 for Mobile Edition)

Opera Mini is also using a proprietary engine, as well as the Skyfire browser (which is in alpha testing)

Having an OS using Java technology quite locks the possibilities : no C++. The is a SourceForge project that aims at porting Mozilla Gecko into J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition for desktops). It is the fist step of the hundred steps before porting it to J2ME.



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Developer
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Why not use a better browser engine?


smiddereens wrote:

Hi all!

 

Has any work been done towards implementing an alternative browser engine like WebKit on the BlackBerry? I'm seeing WebKit used in more and more mobile devices (iPhone, Pre, some Nokia and LG devices) and the prospect of having close-to-desktop rendering is really appealing. I understand that because WebKit is mostly C++, this would require some native code interace that only RIM would be able to implement. What stake does RIM have in keeping their proprietary layout engine?

 

Thanks!


The most likely bet is security and stability. I've heard WebKit is the reason for most of the iPhone crashes, and the same would be true on the BlackBerry if WebKit were ported. Furthermore, having bugs in native code can result in far more serious exploits than bugs in java code, and in order to guard against this they would have to go over pretty much every line of code to ensure it meets their security requirements. The WebKit codebase ain't small Smiley Happy