RE: OmniWebCore

Update: Looks like Dave still reads this weblog. Whaddaya know. :-) Hi Dave. Congrats on the new job!

In reaction to my link to Ken Case's message about WebCore and OmniWeb, Dave thinks Apple crushed a few small developers by releasing their own browser. That's one way to look at it, but I don't think OmniWeb's sales will be affected much by Safari... after all, there were already half a dozen other free browsers competing with it before.

Nobody is going to buy OmniWeb because of its rendering engine. It worked but only just slightly better than Netscape 4, relative to Gecko and IE, that is. Of all the 8 browsers on Mac OS X OmniWeb's rendering is probably the worst. People, like me, bought an OmniWeb license for it's user interface. The "Open link behind this window" menu item was, IMO, the killer UI feature before Mozilla got tabbed browsing. And it's got a number of other great features in its UI.

I believe Ken was being sincere when he thanked Apple for releasing WebCore. I don't think Apple's browser is going to crush OmniGroup or any other developer of browsers on the Mac. Look at it this way... the Omni folks crank out so much good software, like OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner because Apple provides them with amazing frameworks that they master and build atop of. Safari's open-source engine is just another framework for Omni to consume and master.

If Safari's rendering engine gains credibility, and I think it has (a new beta was released today), then Omni's browser would inherit that credibility. Safari's speed will be OmniWeb's speed, and it's rendering abilities will be OmniWeb's rendering abilities. That makes the product a lot easier to sell...

Omni would not be able to make as much software as they do with as little resources as they have without the high-level frameworks they base all their software on. I say embrace and extend this new framework, not fight it. I'd be absolutely shocked if they didn't use it.

Written on January 11, 2003