Reaction to Opera's Decision

published on February 13, 2013 in technical

Recently Opera announced its decision to gradually move to Webkit. This has brought up many reactions in our huge we community. I have my own and here it is.

1. "Webkit is the jQuery of Browser engines"

This is an interesting approach to Opera's decision. On one hand, I agree, because this is the simpler way, the way that is probably supported by the decision makers.

But hey, we have great native JavaScript today. jQuery is no longer what it has been a few years back.

I have been developing in JS for a while and I always did that in Firefox. Chrome, Safari and Opera were always testing tools. And the best testing tool of those was certainly Opera's browser. It always pointed me to the thing I was doing wrong. Not Chrome, Opera.

We will not have that anymore. 

2. We had something similar a while ago

Remember the time IE6 was almost the only browser on the market? Maybe most of you don't remember that, but I do. That was not good. The web community has been struggling since then to overcome the negative effects of that time. This change takes us in the same direction. Only it happens in a different context, with different browsers.

Why on earth would a community be happy about being able to use one kind of car? About having one kind of beer? About wearing one kind of shoes?

We people are about diversity in thinking, in walking, in talking, in the tools we use to build things. Basically, we are about choice. 

Why would anybody be happy if they needed to give all that up?

3. Should the big ones move to Webkit?

I honestly hope they don't. It doesn't matter what business goals they want to achieve, it should be a matter of pride and choice.

Mozilla is really heavily involved with Firefox, great tools are coming there, I can already see those in the nightly builds. Also, I enjoy having a choice. I don't want to give that up. I am currently using a few kinds of browsers: Firefox on mobile and desktop, Safari on mobile and desktop, Chrome on desktop. Assume Firefox would adopt webkit, what would I have for testing? Webkit. Which might not be that bad, but think of it this way: Webkit is strongly supported by Google and Apple, they probably have a big influence on the way it goes ahead. Which means that the future of the web is going to be influenced by business. That is wrong, web should be open, built upon standards, not based on making profit.

Hopefully, that will not happen. I really hope it won't.