Apple out, Google in as Qt dumps WebKit for Blink

Citing a lack of cross-platform support and having to work harder to implement the same feature set, Qt is moving from Apple's WebKit to Google's Blink rendering engine.

Qt, a popular cross-platform application framework, has announced that it is moving its development resources off Qt WebKit to a new component dubbed Qt WebEngine.

Qt WebEngine will be powered by Blink , the web rendering engine that powers the Chromium broswer upon which Google's Chrome browser is based. Blink is also used by Opera .

Digia, the company that now controls Qt after buying it from Nokia last year , said in a blog post that its Qt R&D WebKit team had taken a close look at both Blink and WebKit, with Chromium's Blink coming up trumps.

"We are seeing that Chromium is currently by far the most dynamic and fastest-moving browser available," wrote wrote Digia CTO Lars Knoll. "Basing our next-generation web engine on Chromium is a strategic and long-term decision."

Knoll cited Chromium's cross-platform focus, with the browser being available across Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android.

"The same is no longer true of WebKit, and we would have had to support all the OSes on our own in that project," he wrote.

Knoll also said that extra work would be needed to bring WebKit to feature parity with Chromium, work that Digia would have to support on its own.

"One example is the whole platform/OS adaptation that we can simply reuse. Multimedia and new HTML5 features such as WebRTC are working out of the box and don't require any Qt-specific code."

Other features that Chromium and Blink offer over WebKit are simplifying OS integration, higher quality controls in the project, and allowing for better performance with other Qt components.

There will not be an immediate switch from Qt WebKit to Qt WebEngine; Qt WebKit will remain supported, but will not have any new functionality added to it after Qt's 5.2 release, while the first fully supported release of Qt WebEngine is slated to appear in next year's Qt 5.3 release.

"While this is a rather large change for Qt, I strongly believe this will give us a much better and more competitive web platform in the years to come," Knoll said.

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