Swift – The first webkit browser for windows

swift webkit browserSwift is a web browser for windows XP which is based on the Webkit rendering engine also used by Apple’s Safari.  Nowadays, there is a Windows version of Apple’s Safari itself, but back in 2006 when you wanted the safari experience but were stuck with Windows XP, choices were few.

Swift changed that.  With the release of that first freeware Webkit browser on Windows you could enjoy the browsing features of the Apple Macintosh on a Windows system for the very first time.

Swift is a fully functional browser that renders webpages very fast. Webkit, the excellent rendering engine used in the safari and shiira is fully implemented.  It features a modal/tabbed interface and some other basic features like a search box, but beyond that there’s not too much luxury.

The main audience at time of release were web developers wanting to know what those sites will look like in Apple Safari on the Macintosh or an ipad or iPhone.  This is still a very important step when designing a website though it tends to be a bit neglected.  Now, with Safari released for the Windows platform this is not an issue anymore.  But Swift provided the first possibility to run that test without having an Apple Product at your disposal. Of course, Swift was [and still is] in early alpha stage, but to get a feel of what a site would look like on the Mac you neither need bookmarks nor context menus or other, fancier stuff.

Unfortunately, with the release of Safari full Windows PCs the development of Swift stopped, so the versions that are still publicly downloadable are still in their early alpha stage.

All in all, it is very much possible that the release of the Swift browser and the subsequent public attention could ver well have been a strong signal to Apple and could possibly have acted as the trigger for their decision to release a Safari version for the Windows platform, which happened just about a year later.
So, even if Swift is outdated by now, it still has the honor of being the first web browser to introduce Webkit rendering on the PC platform.

If you want to give it try you can still download it here:
http://download.chip.eu/en/Swift-0.2_162755.html

There is also a swift version for iphone,ipad & ipod:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/swiftbrowser/id307774720?mt=8

What is Webkit ? Here is a short history:

A screenshot of Swift, the first Webkit browser for Windows

A screenshot of Swift, the first Webkit browser for Windows

Webkit is basically a framework for rendering HTML websites.  It is an integral part of Apple’s operating system Mac OS X. Its main components are the frameworks JavaScriptCore and WebCore, both of them building onto his source code of KDE-projects. The Safari web browser is by far the best known application using Webkit, but it is also working inside Mac OS X’s Mail and dashboard as the HTML rendering engine.
Webkit started as a spin of off KHTML and KJS which has been further developed mainly by Apple, in more recent times joined by Google and Nokia.

This joint venture led Webkit to be used in a much broader range of equipment.  It can now be found in the Blackberry 10, Tizen mobile operating systems, the Amazon Kindle (for web browsing), and most prominently in Google’s Android.

When Apple started to use Webkit it was basically because of the need of having its own HTML and JavaScript-Engine to build upon.  They took KHTML and the related KJS as a starting point, mainly because the code had a bit of structure than the Mozilla project had at that time.  The KDE source code was both MacOS X. and subsequently renamed to WebCore and JavaScriptCore.

Although the source code was made publicly available in respect to the existing KHTML and KJS licenses, Apple was accused to make independent usage of the code unnecessary difficult, causing the projects to separate more and more. In reaction to that they publicized all sources of Webkit in a very detailed fashion, which caused Nokia and Adobe to join the game. Soon after that, Google decided to base its chrome browser on WebCore, and thus also take part in further Webkit development.

The presentation of Webkit2 in early 2010, which was a completely rewritten version from the ground up, helped to further define Webkit as one of the main forces in HTML rendering engines.

Find more info on http://www.webkit.org/

HTML5 – What exactly will it be and how much of it is usable for webdesign right now

HTML5 LogoHTML5 LogoHTML5 LogoIt is now quite certain that the advent of CSS3 and HTML5 will rejuvenate the industry and bring forth many new practices that will set new benchmarks. Although the standard is not quite complete it almost is about to be completed, and implementation has already begun within the majority of browsers.
Here are some details of what it heralds for the future.

What is New in HTML5?

First and foremost HTML5 will give you much more than the previous HTML versions – And no plugins will be required for this. Whether it is something pertaining to animations, movies or music, or developing complex apps right inside your browser.

The following elements are of note:

  • Media (timed) playback – <video> and <audio> elements are handled without additional software.
  • New form controls, like email, url, search, calendar, date and time
  • Support for local storage and completely different content-specific elements, like  <nav>, <section><article>,  <header>,<footer>
  • 2D drawing – <canvas> element

HTML5 also has some new APIs for use with the following applications:

Offline Web Applications, Geolocation, Drag-and-drop, Microdata, Cross-document messaging, Document editing, high-level JavaScript API for audio in web apps, Web Storage with new cookie technology.

Some might feel that Flash is being substituted by HTML5 especially after a look at the new features but it is not yet so.  It is not yet possible to include animation without the presence of other components, like CSS3 and JavaScript.  But video playback can already be achieved by simply including a tag. This will do away with the need for add-ons or any other embedded code, if you want the addition of a video player on a website. It is not the html-coding anymore, but the encoding of video and browser support of codecs, which are the new culprits behind making it complicated to embed videos in HTML5. However, that was the same with the old methods, so not having to deal with embedding issues anymore will make it much easier to deal with video on webpages.

Is it Usable Now?

Well, partly. Right now, browsers cannot support the standard in its entirity, because, as mentioned before, it is not yet finished. However, this will soon be the case. The aim of W3C is to launch HTML5 as a stable recommendation towards the end of the second half of this year and a newer and more developed version in 2016.

Most browsers, in their most recent releases, support the already finished parts of the standard – for example the canvas feature. Just to be on the safe side old browsers will have the possibility to bypass the new code and flawlessly operate without it if in case they don’t support it.

Just in order to demonstrate that Silverlight and Flash are not required by browsers with HTML5, a developer by the name of David Walsh has brought together 9 samples with the use of native technology. On his website, http://davidwalsh.name/canvas-demos, there are more details given about the new HTML5 possibilities, including demo programs.

Even before HTML5 has fully launched, it has started a big following amongst developers and others. In fact many of the largest sites on the internet have already started using HTML5. There are many uses for it as of now and it will only increase in the days to come.

QT Developers Changeover to Blink From Webkit

QT-LogoQt WebEngine is the new name for the Qt rendering engine.  Google has been forking Webkit recently and is adapting it for use by the Chrome browser.  Blink is now considered superior after the new company that is in charge of Qt gave it thumbs up after evaluating it along with Webkit.  Then came the announcement that Blink will be used and not Webkit.

The main attraction of Chromium is that it is easily compatible with several platforms like OS X, Android, Linux and Windows. This was counted as an advantage and hence the preference for Blink.  Not just that Blink has a simplified OS integration, enables a superior performance with various Qt components and makes it possible for better control over quality of the project. Besides, Webkit would have involved more effort to make it match features with Chromium which was a big factor in taking the decision.
Chromium has been acknowledged as the best and fastest browser by the developers of Qt WebEngine.  They are of the opinion that Blink will be a superior choice for WebEngine and they will be ahead from the time that they were using Qt Webkit.  The developers firmly believe that Qt being behind the top-of-the-line engine embedded devices can be beneficial, especially when they need a good browser along with an excellent UI performance.

Qt Webkit Outlook For the Future

The current version of Qt Webkit will not be unavailable – it can still be used for some time. However the developers behind it will not continue with any more development of features.  Digia will not abandon Qt Webkit especially for commercial license clients of Qt Enterprise. In fact they may offer support for life.
Qt Webkit will work well for many years into the future especially where web content is a part of the applications.  The developers will move to the development of the version Qt WebEngine. This will happen after the release of Qt version 5.2. Qt WebEngine is your best bet in the days to come since it will have all the best features including HTML5 and will cover all applications and devices.

It is not going to be a sudden move to Qt WebEngine after Qt Webkit which will continue to be supported, but without any new functionality being added again. Version 5.2 will be the last release.
On the other hand the new supported release of Qt WebEngine will be an integral part of Qt 5.3 release.  So, at least in the coming months there is no concern slated for the developers using Qt Webkit.

Blink Engine Fork Created from WebKit by Chromium

Chromium LogoThe newest WebKit fork is Blink, and was created specifically for the internet browser Google Chrome. However, the question is whether new developers and users will find it beneficial, or if it is just something for business.

Web developers soon started criticising the new development, stating that Mozilla had implemented the standard for the Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which had already proven to be useful.

Google leaving the WebKit-development could lead to a serious impact. Not only will it be harder to balance Apple’s control without Google – the company already provided plenty of code, and this is going to be missed by developers. Apple is now the largest company left on the project, meaning it has a more powerful say in matters than the smaller companies. It could cause issues for the direction.

Will Google Leaving Cause Trouble for WebKit?

Google has decided that it is time to take its own direction. It means that the two split sides are focusing on removing anything that isn’t needed anymore. The fork occurred due to engineering concerns, according to the tech giant leaving, and that development would be much quicker if it left. Now the two separate teams will be able to take anything out they don’t need and continue developing the way they want.

While there are downsides, it could also mean benefits for the whole project. Apple will be able to take on the “owner” contributors part without petitioning for it. However, there are questions about the length of time code will remain easily switchable between the two companies. This may sound bad, but it does lead to benefits for free developers, who will have the choice of two engines for embedded web applications.. WebKit is no longer the only option available for companies and individuals to use. Of course, there could be downsides, but all that will come about in time.

What It Means For The Future Of WebKit Browsers

Google decided to create Blink after they wanted their own multi-process model, while Apple preferred a top-tier level for themselves. Of course, these were not the only factors, since Google wanted to simplify the whole architecture, so there is no need for ports anymore. This would help benefit developing the chrome rendering engine.

There could be a future for more people to move to Blink. It will depend on the development investment and corporate backing the fork will gain. WebKit could soon find itself as the runner-up in development.

However, there are still plenty of developers who already use it. WebKit has a base, and is reputable. It will take a lot for some people to switch to something else. WebKit has proven to work on multiple operating systems, and time and testing will be needed to make sure Blink does. With little reason for change, WebKit could prove to be the winner between the two. The process will take a few months to find out who will come out on top.

How to cope as a freelance web-programmer

Webdesign-101Get Swift is not only about a web browser. Get Swift is also a way of life, especially for me!

We all need swift in our life and we all tend to lose it from time to time. So I have dedicated myself to find ways to get it back – as fast and easy as possible!

Being a web-programmer today is very much about efficiency.  You have to keep up with an almost endless number of things: new programming languages or updates almost every month, knowing the latest style and being able to apply it, making sure it all runs smoothly on newer and older browsers, you name it – and, of course, all that while keeping the clients deadlines.  It’s not always easy to stay a well balanced human being while juggling with all that stuff.  But to be able to work, and take the punches and stresses we inevitably experience from time to time, we need a solid personal background.

Most of all, this means staying healthy.  This is easier said than done, I know.  Long working hours, often stretching until late into the night, not enough time to eat healthy, prepare healthy meals -or even not enough time to buy a healthy food make it difficult to maintain the nutrition our body needs to stay in good shape.

Another thing as mental health.  Pressure from clients, their sometimes unpredictable behavior, combined with pressure caused by technical issues can really put your personality to the test.  At the same time, you have to be able to think straight because you have to solve complex technical problems almost all the time, and – if you’re also a web designer – deliver amazing artwork and style on command for the websites you make.

Where is the time for personal relationships, then?  Taking all the aforementioned into account, how are we going to keep them up?  There are seemingly just not enough hours in the day to cope with it all.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is, as strange as it may sound, efficiency.  That’s means finding and implementing working and efficient methods to get your work done as quickly as possible while maintaining outstanding quality. Also, being able to eat healthy without losing too much time preparing food for the meals. And also, last but not least, making sure that there is enough time left to take care of your personal relationships.
I know, I know — this sounds like even more stress!  But we are going to do it in a different way.
We are going to do the things we HAVE TO DO more efficiently and thus have much more time for the things we really WANT TO DO ! For HAVING FUN ! For being with people we love, play baseball, being with our girlfriend (or getting one, if you you’re going solo right now).

The message is: WE’RE WORKING TO LIVE, NOT LIVING TO WORK !

Which does not mean we can’t be efficient and have fun with our work at the same time. I’ve found, the more fluent things go, the more fun it is to do them.

But there’s more to it.

As mentioned before, to be able to keep up our good work and keep our mental and physical health and sanity we need a strong background of working personal relationships. Not all of us have that, and not everyone knows how to keep it that way.

That’s why I dedicated myself some time ago to find methods to make those aspects of my life work – and keep them working. I found those methods and I continue finding and testing them, one after the other.

And whenever I find one that works for me, I am going to share it with you – right here, on this blog.

So, in the same way i keep you informed with the latest tech-talk about webkit, browsers, swift, javascript, php, mysql and whatnot, i will also share my latest discoveries about health, mental health, human relationships and ways of self-developement and self help – That being said, I am not about getting too psychological, don’t worry.

So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

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