Google on Wednesday made a huge announcement to fork WebKit and build a new rendering engine called Blink. Opera, which only recently decided to replace its own Presto rendering engine for WebKit, has confirmed with TNW that it will be following suit.
“When we announced the move away from Presto, we announced that we are going with the Chromium package, and the forking and name change have little practical influence on the Opera browsers. So yes, your understanding is correct,” an Opera spokesperson told TNW. This will affect both desktop and mobile versions of Opera the spokesperson further confirmed.
In its WebKit announcement back in February, Opera also talked about how it would commit to Chromium. By adopting it, Opera was making the decision to stop development of its own rendering engine in order to free up resources to develop new features and build new products.
“Now that we are using off-the-shelf components [like Webkit], it makes sense for our engineers to focus on what’s valuable rather than building something in parallel,” Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie told TNW at the time. “We feel that we can swap the engines behind our browsers quite easily, which will enable us to build even better products for our 300 million users.”
This is a big win for Google. While Opera is the smallest of the five major players in the desktop browser space, it is a big player in mobile. The upcoming switch to Blink means developers of mobile sites won’t have much of a choice but to ensure they work with multiple rendering engines. Many sites mainly target WebKit exclusively, but given that Blink will be a fork of WebKit, supporting it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
We know very little about Blink right now, but it is clear the new rendering engine is open source. With both Chrome and Opera using it, we wouldn’t be surprised if other browser vendors choose to adopt it one day as well, much like the trend has been with WebKit, until today.