WebKitGTK+ 2.0.0

April 11th, 2013 9 comments

After more than two years of development the Igalia WebKit team is proud to announce WebKitGTK+ 2.0.0.

But what’s so special about WebKitGTK+ 2.0?

The WebKit2GTK+ API is now the default one. This means that it’s now considered stable from the API/ABI backwards compatibility point of view, and that the old WebKit1 API is in maintenance mode and kind of deprecated. We will maintain both APIs, but we don’t plan to work on WebKi1 other than fixing bugs.

We encourage everybody to port their existing WebKitGTK+ applications to WebKit2, although we know the WebKit2 GTK+ API is not ready for all applications yet. We will work on adding new API during next release cycle, so let us know if you are missing some API that prevents you from porting your project.

Epiphany, the GNOME Web browser, has been successfully ported to WebKit2 and uses it by default since GNOME 3.8.

What are the benefits of the WebKit2 GTK+ API?

We have talked several times about the advantages of the multi-process architecture of WebKit2, robustness, responsiveness, security, etc. All of the details of the multi-process separation are mostly transparent for the API users, bringing all those benefits for free to any application using WebKit2 GTK+. We have developed the API on top of this multi-process architecture, but also with the experience of several years developing and maintaining the WebKit1 GTK+ API, learning from the mistakes made in the past and keeping the good ideas. As a result, the WebKit2 API is very similar to the WebKi1 in some parts and quite different in others. We started from scratch with the following goals:

  • Simple and easy to use. Instead of porting the WebKit1 API to WebKit2, we decided to add new API on demand. We set some milestones based on porting real applications, adding new API required to port them. This also allowed us to design the API, not only thinking about what we want or need to expose, but also how the applications expect to use the API.
  • Consistency. We have tried hard to be consistent with the names of the functions, signals and properties exposed by the API.
  • Flexibility. When possible, the API allows to use your own implementation of some parts that can be adopted to different platforms. So, you can use your own file chooser, JavaScript dialogs, context menu, print dialog, etc.
  • It works by default. For all those features where a custom implementation can be used, there’s a default implementation in WebKit that just works by default.
  • Unit tests. We have enforced all new patches adding API to WebKit2 GTK+ to include also unit tests, so the whole API is covered by unit tests.

Let’s see the major changes and advantages of this new WebKi2 API.

WebKitWebView is a scrolling widget

For API users this means that WebKitWebView should not be added to a GtkScrolledWindow, the widget is scrollable by itself. Actually this is also the case of the WebKitWebView in WebKit1, but some hacks were introduced to allow the widget to be used inside a GtkScrolledWindow. This caused a lot of headaches due to the synchronization between the internal scrolling and the GTK+ scroll adjustments. So now the main scrollbars are also handled by the WebKitWebView which, among other things, fixed the problem of the double scrollbars in some web sites.

Double scrollbar issue

Embedded HTTP authentication dialog

The default implementation of the HTTP authentication embeds a dialog in the WebView instead of using a real GtkDialog. It’s also integrated with the keyring by default using libsecret.

HTTP authentication dialog

GTK+ 2 plugins (flash)

Plugins also run in a different process that is built with GTK+ 2 to support the most popular plugins like flash that still use GTK+ 2.

MiniBrowser showing a youtube video using flash plugin

Web Inspector

The Web Inspector works automatically in both docked and undocked states without requiring any API call.

Inspector docked

It also has support for remote inspecting.

Remote inspecting

Accelerated compositing

Accelerated compositing is always enabled in WebKit2.

Poster circle

Future plans

During the next release cycle we’ll work on fixing bugs and completing the API, see our RoadMap for further details, but we’ll also explore some other areas not directly related the the API:

  • Multiple web processes support
  • Sandboxing
  • Network Process
Categories: Free Software, Igalia, WebKit Tags: ,

WebKitGTK+ Hackfest 2012

December 26th, 2012 6 comments

This year again the WebKitGTK+ hackfest took place at the Igalia office in A Coruña, and this year again it’s been awesome.

My main goal for the hackfest was to implement an extension system for the web process in WebKit2, that would allow, among other things, to access the DOM, which is the major regression of the WebKit2 GTK+ API. The idea was to use the exactly same GObject DOM bindings API we are currently using in WebKit1, so I moved it to a convenient static library and installed the public headers in its own directory making it shareable between WebKit1 and WebKit2. Once GObject DOM bindings were accessible from WebKit2 I wrote a first patch to implement the web extension system providing a new API for extensions to access the DOM.

I also took advantage of the hackfest time, to re-take a task I had pending for some time, adding an API to WebKit2 to handle SSL errors. I didn’t have time to finish the API, but managed to write a first patch to set a policy for SSL errors. For now it only allows to ignore SSL errors and continue the load or make the load fail in case of SSL errors. The idea is to add a new policy to ask the user what to do.

Even though it was not part of my initial plans for the hackfest I ended up working on the document reading integration in Epiphany. I wrote an initial patch for Epiphany to load documents supported by Evince embedded in the window like a web view. There are still a lot of features to integrate like zooming, searching, printing, etc.

Epiphany showing a PDF document

I set a milestone to switch Epiphany to WebKit2 by default at the end of the hackfest, but I didn’t have time to fix all the regressions. We are a lot closer, though.

This event is impossible without the sponsors, thanks!

 

SSL certificates information support in Epiphany

August 9th, 2012 7 comments

Since the Epiphany migration to WebKit, websites with an invalid SSL certificate were marked as untrusted with the unsecure lock icon in the location bar. However, it wasn’t possible to know what was wrong with the certificate nor the certificate details. Using the certificate viewer widget available in gcr, I’ve implemented a dialog to show information about the possible SSL errors and certificate details in Epiphany. This also means Epiphany now depends on gcr.

Epiphany showing an invalid certificate

Epiphany showing an invalid certificate

Categories: Free Software, GNOME, Igalia Tags:

Epiphany and WebKit2

During the last week, the Igalia WebKit team has been working on adding the initial support for WebKit2 into Epiphany git master. As we did for Devhelp, there’s a configure option (–with-webkit2) that can be used to build Epiphany with WebKit2. The option is disabled by default for now. The WebKit2 GTK+ API is more and more mature and complete, but there are still some important features to implement in order to be able to enable WebKit2 by default in Epiphany. Nevertheless, the main functionality works already and we encourage everybody to give it a try and provide feedback and bug reports. You can also take a look at the Epiphany metabug or the WebKit2 GTK+ API roadmap if you want to help.

Epiphany with WebKit2 playing a random Flash video

Epiphany with WebKit2 playing a random Flash video

The plan is still to have a first stable version of WebKit2 GTK+ API for GNOME 3.6, but Epiphany will switch to WebKit2 by default when we manage to fix all the regressions, hopefully for GNOME 3.8.

Categories: Free Software, GNOME, Igalia, WebKit Tags:

GNOME 3.4: WebKit2 and kinetic scrolling

March 29th, 2012 3 comments
The web at your fingertips

The GNOME Project has released GNOME 3.4, the second major release of GNOME 3. A lot of new features, UI improvements and other enhancements are included in this release, as well as important changes in the development platform. You can see all the details in the release notes.

One of the applications that has received a major revamp is Epiphany, the GNOME Web Browser, not only because of the beautiful new interface, but it also has significant improvements in performance and stability. If Epiphany is not your default browser, give it a try when you upgrade to GNOME 3.4. See Xan‘s and Diego‘s blog posts for more details of the new Web Browser.

WebKit2

GNOME 3.4 includes WebKitGTK+ 1.8.0, the first stable release that contains an initial WebKit2 GTK+ API. It’s disabled by default, though, since it’s still a preliminary version, so you need to build with –enable-webkit2 configure option. It’s already possible to try it out with Devhelp 3.4 which can be optionally built with WebKit2 using –with-webkit2 configure option. If the current API is enough to port your application, give it a try and let us know, you can use the webkit2 devhelp branch as a reference. We’ll provide a migration guide soon too.

Kinetic scrolling

GTK+ 3.4 has finally support for kinetic scrolling in GtkScrolledWindow. I’m very happy to know that the work made by Igalia during the GTK+/Meego Handset integration project has helped Carlos Garnacho to properly integrate kinetic scrolling in GTK+.

What’s next?

During the next development cycle, the Igalia WebKit team will continue to focus on making Epiphany even more awesome, with more UI improvements, and of course porting it to WebKit2.

Categories: GNOME, Igalia, WebKit Tags: ,

WebKitGTK+ 2.0 for GNOME 3.6?

February 28th, 2012 No comments

That’s the plan! But, what’s exactly WebKitGTK+ 2.0? It will be the first stable release of WebKit2 GTK+ API, leaving the current WebKit GTK+ API in a maintenance mode. WebKit2 GTK+ is not just about multi-process architecture, robustness, stability and all other great things the new WebKit2 model brings, it’s also a redesign of the current WebKitGTK API to make it even more convenient and easier to use.

In the Igalia WebKit team,  we have planned a Roadmap of the tasks we will be actively working on to release WebKitGTK+ 2.0 for GNOME 3.6. Even though unit tests play a very important role in the WebKit2 GTK+ API development, we know that real applications using the API usually reveal issues that the unit tests or test programs like MiniBrowser don’t catch. For that reason, we have set milestones consisting of porting real applications to the new API.

  • GNOME 3.4: Applications using a small part of the API. We will focus on porting Devhelp.
  • GNOME 3.5: With the first unstable releases of the 3.5 cycle we should be able to port applications using the API more extensively. We will focus on porting Yelp.
  • GNOME 3.6: We should be able to port any application using WebKitGTK+ without major regressions. We will focus on porting Epiphany.

This is, of course, a plan, if we eventually don’t manage to achieve the milestones, we will release WebKitGTK+ 1.10 for GNOME 3.6 and current plan will be postponed to GNOME 3.8. Needless to say that any help would be more than welcome 🙂

Categories: GNOME, Igalia, WebKit Tags:

Porting devhelp to WebKit2

January 26th, 2012 No comments

When MiniBrowser was ported to the new WebKit2 GTK+ API, I said we had plans to create a webkit2 branch for epiphany. And we’ll do it as soon as we have enough API, but epiphany uses most of the WebKit API so this is going to take a bit. In the meantime, we have decided to focus on other applications that use a small part of the WebKit API like devhelp, yelp, liferea, etc. Yesterday I pushed a webkit2 branch into the devhelp git repository with some initial commits that allow to use devhelp with WebKit2. Even though WebKit2 is available in the latest WebKit unstable releases, there’s a bug and public headers are not installed, so you need to build WebKit from git to be able to build the devhelp webkit2 branch. The main functionality works, but there are still some features missing that we are currently working on:

  • Policy client: used by devhelp to decide what to do with unknown content and to open links in a new tab with middle click. Martin Robinson is working on Policy Client API for WebKit2, the patches are pretty good and will be pushed soon.
  • Search: We already agreed on the new API and Sergio Villar wrote the patch that will also land soon.
  • Printing: This is not only about adding API, it requires adding support for printing in the Web process too. The main problem is that we need to show the print dialog in the UI process and render pages for printing in the Web process, so we can’t use GtkPrintOperation. We have already patches to implement basic printing support and adding initial API. These patches only work for UNIX, so patches to make it work in win32 would be really appreciated.
  • Editing commands: There’s already a patch to add cut, copy and paste API, but we are discussing the possibility to move to a more generic approach for editing commands.

And here is the mandatory screenshot, although there’s nothing special since WebKit2 changes don’t affect the UI.

Devhelp using WebKit2

Devhelp using WebKit2

We will keep updating the webkit2 branch when new API lands in WebKit until there aren’t regressions. Then we’ll focus on yelp which requires two important challenges: DOM bindings and context menu API.

Categories: Igalia, WebKit Tags:

Preliminary WebKit2 GTK+ API documentation

December 16th, 2011 No comments

We have just released WebKitGTK+ 1.7.3, the first release that includes WebKit2 API docs already generated in the tarball. The documentation is also available online now. Take into account that WebKit2 is still under development and the API might change, more specifically WebKitWebLoaderClient is going to be removed soon.

Categories: GNOME, Igalia, WebKit Tags:

libgxps 0.2.0

November 19th, 2011 No comments

More than a month ago I released libgxps 0.1.0, the first release of libgxps, but for several reasons I ended up not announcing it. I’ve just released a new version that includes a small API break and a lot of new features and improvements, see the release notes for further details. I’ll release evince 3.3.2 next week depending on this new libgxps version (when building with –enable-xps).

Categories: GNOME Tags: ,

WebKit2 GTK+ MiniBrowser ported to GTK+ API!

November 4th, 2011 4 comments

MiniBrowser is a small web browser application for testing WebKit2. MiniBrowser for the GTK+ port has been working for some time now, but it was implemented using the C-based WebKit2 API. WebKitGTK+ 1.7.1 introduced an initial high level GTK+ API for WebKit2 more similar to the current WebKit1 GTK+ API. This week, Igalia‘s WebKit team started to port the MiniBrowser code to use the new GTK+ API.

MiniBrowser running
MiniBrowser running

This new GTK+ API is far from complete compared to the WebKit1 API, but it’s already possible to implement a small application with basic features, and we have plans to create a webkit2 branch for epiphany soon. API is already documented in the code, but the html generation is not available yet. We are already working on it so that WebKitGTK+ 1.7.2 will generate the API documentation when compiled with –enable-gtk-doc and –enable-webkit2 and it will be available on the WebKitGTK+ website too.

Thanks to the multiprocess architecture, WebKit2GTK+ solves the problem of using flash (or any other plugin using GTK+2) with GTK+3. The UI process depends unconditonally on GTK+3 and the plugin process is always built with GTK+2. And of course, flash will never crash or block your web browser. Plugins are broken in WebKitGTK+ 1.7.1 due to a bug that has already been fixed, so in order to try it out you need to either wait until 1.7.2 is released or build WebKit from current git master.

MiniBrowser showing a youtube video
MiniBrowser showing a youtube video
Categories: GNOME, Igalia, WebKit Tags: