So, over on G+ I had it pointed out to me that my multi-process work was… Pointless. It really kinda killed Fiber as it was. Apparently WebEngine covered the bases I was running at. While it was super-sad to see my work circle down the toilet bowl (along with my ‘hacker cred’!) it was also a bit of a relief; not only do I get it for free, but it would have been done better and more robustly than I could have.
The main thing it changed was the fact that anything I would do from that point forward could either be pulled or applied to existing browsers, raising the question; should I fork, contribute, or still start from scratch? I knew I had 3 goals;
- Deep KDE technology integration.
- Present a polished, stable, modern experience.
- Be simple by default, powerful when needed.
And a few ‘key’ features;
- Extensions over hardcoded features
- Custom per-tab profiles
I looked to see what was around, and there are 4 browsers which I could work with;
Qupzilla isn’t KDE-specific, and I their thing is cross-platform. I very specifically want to target a KDE-oriented browser.
Additionally it’s still on Qt4, I want a Frameworks 5 oriented browser. Apparently they’re on Qt5!
Even with the Qt5 version, I’d still be taking an uncomfortable number of liberties with their goals. Also, the plan seems to be a QML-based browser – Qupzilla is out.
Rekonq is currently ~the~ KDE browser, it has the fullest KDE integration, and is established.
The major downside is the fact that Rekonq is an inactive project; it has been stagnant for over a year. Additionally, despite being a browser based on KDE tech, Firefox has supplanted it as the default browser on even the most vanilla distributions.
I’ve been looking at the code and there are some worrying mistakes; I won’t pick it apart, but I spotted a few things that concerned me. Additionally, like QupZilla, it’s still on Qt4 and needs to be ported to Frameworks 5.
Generally, I feel Rekonq has a large amount of baggage; it needs to be ported to Qt5, it has some outstanding issues, and it seems the developers have lost interest… Rekonq is out.
QT Demo Browser
QT Demo Browser is what Rekonq was based off long ago. Since it’s just a demo, basing off it would be a new project; but it is Qt5, and the most ‘vanilla’ of the bunch.
Qt Demo is, well, a demonstration. It has valuable up-to-date code, and is somewhat no-frills. But, because it’s just a demo it also lacks many subtle features that make modern browsing pleasant. It’s also built like a traditional application, so it has a structure that looks more like IE6 than a modern browser.
Qt Nano Browser
Qt Nano Browser is a QML-based browser. It has the absolute fewest features, and is no-nonsense in its quest to simply present a QML-based tabbed browser.
The downside is, the thing really is a skeleton, and there’s a huge amount of basic functionality missing. Compared to the other browser, the question is whether or not I want to strip something down, or build something up.
The plan is to start a new browser from scratch (or, re-start), as I was going to previously. I’m currently in a debate between traditional widgets or a QML driven UI.
I should go QtQuick, as it has some clear advantages and is another differentiating factor vs contemporary widget-based browsers. If I do so, I’ll instead base of QtNanoBrowser or at least refer to the nano browser. About the only reason I’m debating QML is because we had an agreement to disagree, but I should really just accept it and drink the juice.
So, as it was (my little multi-process experiment) is dead! But the time and effort that will be saved will go into creating something richer, different, and modern.