Right now, so many major players in the web browsing space have turned to the WebKit project for its rendering needs—
- Apple: Safari
- Google: Chrome
- Nokia: Symbian web browser for S60
- Google: Android web browser
- Research In Motion: BlackBerry web browser
- and more
—that one has to wonder if web browsers should just stop running on their own and agree to just merge, possibly under WebKit, since it seems to be so popular across the board. To be clear, if Mozilla’s Gecko renderer had the same track record, I’d say the same thing.
Mozilla can enjoy more time expanding its already large and loyal userbase, working on Labs products like Bespin and Weave, pushing for the WOFF web font format, and so on.
One can argue that if we should be able to choose browsers, then the same can be said for underlying rendering engines, and accept the differences as a a consequence of the freedom to choose. But does a consumer of the Web need to choose which rendering engine he prefers? Or are the differences something we can finally do without?
I, for one, would be thrilled if we didn’t have to worry whether websites looked the same in every browser, and just focus on making websites look and behave the best they can. And I’m pretty sure ordinary users don’t even think about rendering differences.