All posts tagged ‘Webkit’

File Under: Mobile, Software & Tools

Torch Fires up Webkit-Powered Windows Mobile Browser

Torch Mobile’s Iris browser takes the power of the Webkit rendering engine to Windows Mobile devices. The mobile browser was released Tuesday.

The browser itself is not unlike the many iPhone Safari clones popping up around the mobile web since iPhones first hit the streets. You load up a page, the page appears as a mile-high overview, you double click in an area and it zooms in, you scroll the page with your finger. In fact, it has a lot in common with another full-fledged browser on Windows Mobile, Opera Mobile 9.5.

The significance of the Iris browser derives from how the page is rendered. In Iris’ case, the page is rendered using Webkit, the same powerful rendering engine behind Safari. Webkit is robust, fast and quick to jump on the newest and coolest web standards. It’s also an open source project, which means, thanks to Iris, Windows Mobile users won’t have to wait for Safari to be ported from the iPhone to Windows Mobile for the same web surfing experience.

Other features of the Iris browser include:

  • Multiple Windows and Tabs
  • Netscape plug-in API
  • HTML 4, JavaScript, CSS, bookmarks, cookies and cache (like we said, it’s fully powered browser)
  • Support for input devices and mobile hardware features such as touch screens, keyboards and rotatable screens

The browser playing field on Windows Mobile is a sparse one. Iris has entered the ring to compete with Opera for best Windows Mobile Browser. Opera is even more strict than Webkit when it comes to web standards, is also a fully operable browser and touts some pretty fast speeds too. Also available for Windows devices is Skyfire, which delivers image snapshots of web pages instead of rendering the page on the device itself.

Finally, there is the first generation browser packaged with Windows Mobile: Internet Explorer. It’s clumsy and manipulates pages to fit and render on it. It’s anything but the full-powered browser Safari, Opera and Torch is.

Download the Iris browser at the Torch Mobile website.

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WebKit Experiments with CSS Variables

WebKit, the code that makes up the guts of browsers such as Apple’s Safari, has gained a much-requested new feature with the addition of variables in cascading stylesheets.

The feature, which won’t be available publicly until the next major release of Safari — and then only if it survives this experiment — is available now with its latest nightly WebKit build.

The enhancement comes after ten years of pleas for the feature by web developers. It would make designing and reading website code much easier by allowing developers to reference commonly-used styles by names chosen by the site’s designer. For example, watch how variables make this little piece of code, used to make the background of the page and tables light gray, a little more readable:

Without variables:


//Sets the background of the page and tables to the hex code for the color gray.

body {

   background-color:#ECEAE1;}

table {

   background-color: #ECEAE1;}

With CSS variables:


//Defines "DefaultBGColor" to light gray

@variables {

  DefaultBGColor: #ECEAE1;}

//Sets the background and any table on the page to the default background color

body {

  background-color: var(DefaultBGColor);}

table {

  background-color: var(DefaultBGColor);}

Current implementations of CSS have some standard variables for properties like alignment or color (“left,” “dark blue” or “red,” for example). However, unless you design your site around those pre-defined colors, you’re stuck having to memorize hex codes and pixel lengths. This is especially challenging for sites with multiple designers referencing the same code. Variables would mirror other coding standards by making these references configurable and recognizable according to site design.

Webkit, the rendering engine that powers Apple’s Safari and Linux’s Konqueror, is the first browser to support CSS variables. Web designers are not likely to take advantage of it until other major browsers, like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, hop on the bandwagon. Still, it’s a nifty advancement, and something worth noting for the future.

To get started with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), follow Webmonkey’s tutorial.