Opera switching browser to WebKit

News Marin Perez 14:05, Feb 13 2013

Opera will be transitioning its Web browsing engine to the Google-backed WebKit

Opera will be making its browsers more like Safari and Chrome, as the company announced that it will be transitioning to the WebKit engine. 

Opera had previously used its own engine for its browsers on the Web and on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Overall, it had reached more than 300 million monthly active users. It used proxy servers to compress Web pages and one major advantage of apps like Opera Mini is that it used less data than competing browsers. 

The company has decided to change its browsing engine to WebKit, which is also what powers the iPhone's Safari and Android's Chrome browsers. In particular, Opera will be using the open source Chromium project to help it build its new browsers.

"The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better," said Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie, in a prepared statement. "It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need. It makes more sense to have our experts working with open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further." 

Listening to Opera's rationale makes a lot of sense, as the move could make it much easier for developers to make web apps that work well on Opera's browsers across many platforms. The company will be showing off a preview version of its WebKit browser for Android at the upcoming Mobile World Congress conference. 

While it may seems like WebKit has won, remember that Internet Explorer in Windows Phone uses a different rendering engine and so will the upcoming Firefox OS. 

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