Adobe to contribute to Google's forked version of WebKit, Blink

Adobe wasn't concerned about WebKit monoculture, and it's backing Google's forked version of the WebKit rendering engine.

Adobe has announced it will contribute to Blink, Google's forked version of the WebKit rendering engine that that the company had previously been partnering with Apple on.

Vincent Hardy, director of engineering at Adobe's Web Platform team, said on Tuesday that Blink will "strengthen an already healthy browser competition", adding he believes Blink does not pose a fragmentation threat to open web standards under certain conditions.

Part of Google's motivation for creating Blink was to add new features and capabilities to the web platform, thereby taking it on a different path to WebKit — which Google has claimed it will handle in a transparent, responsible and compatible manner.

According to Hardy, the new path Blink is forging highlights the importance of browser interoperability: "Over time, the Blink code base will diverge from WebKit's but no harm to the web occurs if both engines implement the same features in different ways. Only significantly different feature sets could result in harmful fragmentation. Making sure that WebKit, Blink and other browser engines interoperate is more important than it has ever been."

Adobe has contributed to WebKit, Chromium and to a lesser extent Mozilla's layout engine Gecko, and the diversity these provide, along with Microsoft's Trident engines, has help drive innovation on the web, Hardy notes.

While Blink may have raised concerns about fragmentation, Hardy says Adobe was not too concerned that Opera's recent shift from Presto to WebKit and Chromium would lead to a "WebKit monoculture".

"The web is bigger than any one of its leading browser implementations and too important to be limited to a single code base even if that implementation has variations."