Webkit port: talking to Andrea "xeD" Anzani

Blog post by koki on Sat, 2007-12-22 01:19

Webkit rendering bebits.comWebkit rendering bebits.comIt looks like the Haiku Webkit port initiated by Ryan Leavengood has entered a productive second stage of development, and thanks to the recent work by one of the new project team members, Andrea "xeD" Anzani, tangible progress has been made as shown by the recent screenshot showing the HaikuLauncher application rendering bebits.com (shown to the right). I was curious about his work, so I went directly to the source and asked a few questions to Andrea; here are his answers.

Andrea: From the questions you wrote, it looks like you think we have a working browser here. Well, we don't. I'm sorry to tell you but what you see it's just a proof that the webkit is working. Still incomplete and with a lot of bugs. The webkit is, in short words, a framework for loading, parsing and drawing an html page (including net connections and javascript interpreter). We are working on fixing and finishing it. When we are done with porting the webkit, then we can speak about the development of a web browser.

Q: Does the browser/project already have a name?

Andrea: A member of our team (Marcus Jacob) has a personal project for the development of a web browser for BeOS/Haiku. The name is WebPositive. This browser will be definitely the first application to benefits the webkit port. The application HaikuLauncher you see in the screenshot is just a basic example on how to use the webkit. We use it only to test the core and I don't think it'll never turn into an complete application.

Q: How did you get involved in the project?

Andrea: Quite easy. I heard about the work Ryan L. was doing and I offered my help. We use a temporally private svn just to work on the project as soon as it can be merged with the official webkit repository.

Q: What is the current development status? In what specific areas of the browser are you coding?

Andrea: Right now we are focused only on the webkit. Ryan did a great job doing the port. All the parts compile and the needed classes are extended to use the Haiku API. Because it's a lot of code, some parts are just empty or incomplete. Personally I'm trying to have a general overview of the whole project and doing so I filled up some missing parts (like adding text rendering, fixing image drawing, adding basic font loading). I think we need some more time to have a single person work on specific parts.

Q: What feature set do you have in mind?

Andrea: For the webkit, just to have it working at it's best. For the browser, we still did not start a discussion about it, but personally I think we should go for trying to put innovations. I'm quite tired about the classical web browser design (top navigation bar, bookmarks, history...), and I would like to experiment new ways of thinking such kind of application.

Q: Do you have plans to demo the browser at BeGeistert/FOSDEM?

Andrea: We don't have a plan but I think three of us (me,stippi and rossi) will be at the next BG in January so maybe something could pop out.