Browser maker Opera is joining the ranks of Google and Apple and embracing the WebKit rendering engine.
The company made the announcement in conjunction with news that Opera now reaches 300 million monthly users across its various browser products.
Web browsers rely on rendering engines to translate code into the visual text and display you see on your desktop, tablet or ph. Mozilla uses the Gecko rendering engine for Firefox, Microsoft uses Trident for Internet Explorer and Google and Apple use WebKit for Chrome and Safari. Historically, Opera has relied on its own Presto rendering engine for its browsers.
That's all going to change.
The company says it will move to WebKit slowly, first with its Opera Mobile browser and then, over time to its other products, including Opera for the desktop.
Opera will be showing off its first WebKit-based efforts at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month with a preview of its next Android web browser.
Is This a Good Thing?
While Opera's decision to move to WebKit makes sense from a business and user perspective, what does this say about the future of the web and web standards in general?
After all, we've seen what can happen when developers and designers become too complacent and focused on platform at the risk of all others: The world gets stuck with IE 6.
I'm certainly not conflating the situation that was prolonged IE 6 penetration with WebKit's dominance in the browser space; but it is a good reminder that focusing too much on platform can be risky.
We'll be discussing the larger issues surrounding this switch in a future post.
What do you think of Opera's decision to switch to WebKit?