The WebKit engine has become the de-facto standard for mobile browsers, something which takes on broader implications in light of Apple’s unparalleled involvement and contribution to the WebKit open-source project.
In addition to Apple, a number of other companies such as Nokia and Google are heavily involved with WebKit development, but with approximately 30 webkit developers currently working for Apple, the folks at Cupertino may not be driving the boat, but they’re at least holding the map. In comparison, 19 WebKit developers currently work for Google while 8 work for Torch Mobile (a company which incidentally was just purchased by RIM).
“More pertinently, Apple employs far more of the WebKit reviewers than anyone else,” writes Matt Asay of CNET, “which gives it much more control. Most of the other participants are committers, which are important but not equal in control to reviewers.”
And now things get downright silly.
Ever take a look at the WebKit icon? Yeah, me either, but it apparently looks like this.
Wow, that certainly looks awful familiar, but where have I seen that icon before. On snap! It’s actually sitting my dock right now. And it’s called Safari.
So yeah, they’re basically the same.
But wait, there’s more!
Can you guess what official blog of the WebKit Open Source Project is called?
Why, Surfin’ Safari, of course. To be fair, it has a much better ring than Surfin’ Chrome.
Positioning HTML 5 for the future
And things got even more Apple-centric yesterday when Apple WebKit manager Maciej Stachowiak was appointed as one of the co-chairs for the HTML Working group division of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Electronista comments on what impact this may have down the road:
The position potentially gives Apple a stronger voice in future development of web technology. Safari was one of the first browsers to integrate HTML 5 technology, despite the lack of support from the vast majority of current websites. The company also added HTML 5 support to the recent iPhone firmware v3.0 update.
Things get even more juicy when discussing HTML 5’s potential to do away with Flash and Silverlight, two technologies Apple will never put on the iPhone no matter how much people complain. Equivalent multimedia functionality based on HTML 5 standards would serve keep users happy, and more importantly, would prevent a situation whereby Apple had to rely on the proprietary technology of other companies such as Microsoft and Adobe in products like the iPhone.
Finalized HTML 5 standards, though, won’t be finalized anytime in the near future, so Flash isn’t going anywhere just yet. But per usual, Apple is taking a look at a broader roadmap, and is making moves accordingly. Chess moves, ya’ll. Chess moves.