Safari and KHTML

Don Merton (formerly of and now engineering manager of Safari at Apple) has sent a message to the KDE developers explaining why Apple picked KHTML as the engine for their new Safari browser. He writes:

The number one goal for developing Safari was to create the fastest web browser on Mac OS X. When we were evaluating technologies over a year ago, KHTML and KJS stood out. Not only were they the basis of an excellent modern and standards compliant web browser, they were also less than 140,000 lines of code. The size of your code and ease of development within that code made it a better choice for us than other open source projects. Your clean design was also a plus. And the small size of your code is a significant reason for our winning startup performance….

Update: jwz claims that “translated through a de-weaselizer, this says:”

“Even though some of us used to work on Mozilla, we have to admit that the Mozilla code is a gigantic, bloated mess, not to mention slow, and with an internal API so flamboyantly baroque that frankly we can’t even comprehend where to begin. Also did we mention big and slow and incomprehensible?”

Apple releases web browser

Just caught the live feed from MacWorld 2003 where Steve Jobs demonstrated the new Apple web browser called Safari. Impressive. The SnapBack feature looks cool: You go to Google, search for something, go to one of the resulting sites and wander around a while, and then just click the SnapBack button to jump back in history to your original search results page. Seems a reasonable and frequently needed shortcut, although I’m unclear how it affects the back button and it might add some user confusion about which to use. He also demonstrated SnapBack with Amazon and said it worked for any site. I would have been really impressed if it worked for searches on any site, but I suspect it just goes to the root for non-known search engines. I liked the excellent mechanism for reporting bugs.

Jobs said it is based on the KHTML open source project when I expected it would be based on Gecko like Chimera. It really surprised me, especially after they hired David Hyatt. It remains to be seen how well Safari does with standards, but more standards-based browsers is a good thing. I hope it is solid. If Safari is really the fastest browser on the Mac, that’s cool.

I can’t wait to try it out.

Update: I added a link to the Safari information on the Apple website and to a KHTML page.