What can we expect from Opera's move to Webkit?
Opera in February 2013 announced that it would use another browser core for the majority of its web browser products. In particular, the company decided to use Webkit, which is also the core of Google Chrome, Chromium, Safari and a couple of other browsers. This reduced the number of engines used by the five most popular web browsers to three, which is still enough in my opinion to have the companies work hard on their engines.
I'm still uncertain what we can expect when it comes to the desktop version of Opera. Will Opera release a new browser that resembles the original browser only weakly, or will it feel like Opera but with another rendering engine?Â I'd hate to see Opera become a clone of Chromium or Google Chrome, but there are indicators that this is not going to happen.
There are other browsers that use Webkit as one of their rendering engines without using the same minimalistic design that Chrome or Chromium use. Maxthon is an example of such a browser. So, it is certainly possible that Opera removes the old rendering engine, adds Webkit to be done with it.
It is on the other hand likely that there will be other changes in that version. Opera may use the clear cut to remove features from the browser that wanted to remove anyway.Â I'm talking about the excellent Opera Unite as well as Opera Widgets which are no longer on the priority list of the company. It is understandable in regards to widgets, considering that Opera is now supporting extensions which offer far more flexibility than widgets ever could.
There are other features, linked to the Presto engine that will be removed from the next version of Opera. This may include Opera Dragonfly, Carakan, Fit to width/seamless zoom, and single column/small screen mode. Basically, anything that relies on the Presto engine won't be ported over. It is still possible that Opera will create this features if possible using the new engine.
If you are asking me, the best thing that Opera can do is release the browser as is but with the Webkit rendering engine in place. Removing core features, the small tiny things that set Opera apart, or the customization options in regards to the UI would certainly be a huge mistake. Making Opera like Chrome is a mistake as there is no need to use Opera if it resembles Google's browser.
Opera with the Webkit rendering engine on the other hand has a chance to attract a larger audience thanks to the stability and speed improvements it brings along with it.Advertisement