Yesterday I released version 1.4.4 of HaikuWebKit. This version includes the latest fixes to the rendering code and should be completely useable again. There are still a few drawing issues but they shouldn't prevent you to browse the web anymore.
This week most of my time was spent on debugging. My new machine is running fine, and now building WebKit takes a little more than an hour, which is much better than the 4 hours I was getting on the old laptop. With a 4 thread CPU machine some concurrency and locking issues became much easier to reproduce. This led to identifying and fixing a bug in our BSecureSocket class, which was not properly setting up SSL for thread-safe operation. I think this will fix most of the remaining memory corruption problems.
This week most of my time was spent on preparing the 1.4.3 release of HaikuWebkit. This fixes more bugs and removes the "tiled" rendering mode introduced in 1.4.0, which turned out to not work so well. Some old drawing issues will make a comeback, however, and I will need to dig into the app_server clipping code again to understnad what's happening there and actually fix them.
During the last two weeks, I spent most of my time working on the WebKit2 port. As I already mentioned, WebKit2 is where current WebKit development happens, and the most important change is the split of the WebKit system into two processes, one for showing the window, and one for doing the actual work of rendering the pages. But the more interesting thing is the more up to date and full-featured API that lets WebKit handle, for example, HTTPS certificates, so we don't have to do it ourselves - just show the dialog to the user when told to.
This week most of my time was spent working on getting WebKit2 compiling on Haiku. WebKit2 is the new multi-process model for WebKit. It replaces the old WebKit1 that our port uses currently. WebKit2 spawns a new process for each tab, and possibly more (for network access, etc.). The key features are:
- When a webpage crashes WebKit, only the tab showing this page is lost, not the whole browser
- The use of more processes makes the application feel more reactive. As you know, the threading model in WebKit is not a perfect fit with Haiku's one, but splitting things in a separate process allows us to have a standard Haiku application as the visible browser shell
- All the tricks of getting WebKit running (specific tweaks to BApplication and BWindows) are moved to the rendering process. This makes the BWebView API much simpler, as it will become just a plain subclass of BView, with no expectations on the BApplication or BWindow
- The WebKit2 API is where all current WebKit development happens. WebKit1 lacks support for some features
The quest to provide a better web browsing experience continues this week with some small fixes which result from hours of tracking down bugs.
As mentioned in the previous report, two weeks ago I attended the RMLL conference. As usual this was quite interesting, and an occasion to show Haiku to more people in the free software community. We got only about 10 persons attending our conference and 4 attending our workshop on making Haiku packages. However, the main event was the "Libre Village" where we got to meet people and try to get as much of them as possible to try Haiku. I played Critical Mass with some people there, and also helped porting PyTouhou to Haiku.