WebPositive, the best web browser in the world

The path to corporate browser, operating system, Haiku was very difficult. From 2001 to 2009, there have been several attempts to replace the quickly aging Net+ something more modern. Only the last of them was successful.

NetPositive (Net+), regular browser of BeOS, its developers considered a temporary solution, it did not support neither Java, nor JavaScript, nor CSS. The system urgently needed a browser with resources wasn’t too good. In spite of its simplicity, and perhaps because of it, the browser was good. Reliable and unpretentious.

When Microsoft, with pathos and with the roar of trumpets announced the ActiveDesktop (“live” Wallpaper for their operating systems, HTML-based), Be, Inc., immediately added a similar feature in its operating system. Saying that its implementation took only 9 lines of code and 15 minutes of work of the programmer. And a small piece of Net+, what Jean-Louis wisely said nothing.

Microsoft has applied to the court about steal her functionality, chose to withdraw the claim.

History Net+ interrupted on the official version 2.2.2 (according to Wikipedia) or if you believe the Newspapers Be on version 2.2. It is known about the version of Net+ to developers with number 3.0 d.3, with countless bug fixes identified in 2.x, with not less than countless of its own bugs and JavaScript – but the third version of fate did not developed.

In 2007 adventurers of Haiku, Inc. decided not to include Net+ first alpha version, because of its shortcomings, is more or less acceptable in the beginning of the decade to the end of the zero did ancient browser is useless. Instead of upgrading Net+, chose a much more difficult path: it was decided to write a new browser from scratch, on the WebKit engine.

Opinions were divided, but defeated this option.

This is the sixth part series about Haiku. Previous parts:

  • First: Haiku (OpenBeOS);
  • Second: Who needs this… Haiku?;
  • Third: Haiku R1/Alpha1.
  • Fourth: Haiku: The Return Of The BeOS.
  • Fifth: Web+, WebKit and Qt4.

The battle for the browser is lost

Most likely, the first attempt to create a new browser for BeOS was the project NetOptimist, or simply Be-style NetO. The developers had access to source code Net+ 2.2, and an optimist would be a clone of the browser.

If its creators are not exhausted optimism, pardon the pun. With the volunteer projects this happens very often. A creative crisis, lack of time, whatever. Since 2002 NetOptimist showed no signs of life, most likely the project was discontinued. Although it is not a fact. BlueEyedOS, a clone of BeOS, and Haiku competitor, almost revealing itself in the public space, successfully developed until the end of 2014. This is what I learned from Guillaume Mayara heading this project.

The second attempt was the project Net++. Maybe the first was just Net++, but how to share these projects have nothing, there is no difference.

Net++ was developed for BeOS, and its clones. BlueEyedOS, Zeta, Haiku. The project was headed by Guillaume Maiar, he also developed the user interface of the new browser, and wrote almost half of his code. There is another member of the project, Roger Andre Lassen.

Write your own web engine was unreal, the times Amateur in this field has already passed, and to transfer the clones Be any of the existing engines needed a lot of time and resources.

The project modern web browser for BeOS, called Themis, which began during the life of BeOS, and lasted until January 2006. In Themis planned support for OpenSSL, CSS, JavaScript, and Java, multi-threading, and more. But in 2006, the project was stopped. In 2001 and 2002 in reporting on the status of the project on SourceForge, most often, it was reported that the project is still alive.

In 2007, adventurers from Haiku, Inc., discussed and formulated the project browser for Haiku, deciding not to be afraid of difficulties…

The battle for the browser that brought victory

Porting WebKit to Be API was extremely complex. First, it is massive in scope and very complicated source code. Second, the internal structure of Haiku is different from other operating systems. Probably more than any operating system in the world streams are not used as creatively and everywhere.

But the basis of the WebKit engine in this matter are very conservative. The streams are dangerous. Their use, despite the hundreds (and possibly thousands) of books written on this subject, still very dangerous sport. In some of these books prove convincingly and without options, what flows is deadly and should be avoided.

Ryan Livengood and max Simon, a trainee under the program of GSoC-2009, coped with this task. By the way, Maxim, Simon received a scholarship, and his name inscribed in the history WebPositive.

Haiku, Inc. could be called a source of manpower in the computer industry, in 2009 the project has had six interns GSoC-2009, five of which received the scholarship. On average, the scholarship in that year received one Intern out of ten.

One of the interns GSoC-2009 we still talk, since 2013, he leads projects Web+ and HaikuWebKit.

HaikuWebKit was a branch of the WebKit project, but it is so different from the original, that one of the benefits from the use of the rapidly growing engine open source was almost lost: changes in the code of the main branches had to be imported manually.

But it was an internal problem of the group HaikuWebKit.

Worse was different: even after months of debugging and optimization, performance HaikuWebKit left much to be desired. The culprit was found, it proved to be a great utility cURL, which is used in WebKit. On other platforms, arranged differently, with a cURL of these problems was not.

In fact, a kind of Haiku device (inherited from BeOS) – the advantage of these systems.

It would be absurd to roll back the operating system back, and start all over again, but replacements for cURL is not.

On reflection, he decided to launch WebPositive as he is.

The browser was included in the R1/Alpha 2, or R1A2. Releases of Haiku are allowed to designate any of these methods.

In the message about upgrading Web+ was declared with a note about the lack of “maturity” of the browser. On this note, journalists and observers did not pay attention.

From the first alpha version of WebPositive, in the second alpha version of Haiku, they were expecting perfect cleanliness, performance, and pre-saw him as a killer if not Internet Explorer, then at least Safari…

Don’t know, read the pressrelease users, but their experience with the browser was more positive. One of them called the most positive WebPositive browser in the world. I have used this comparison.

The history of the Web+ it’s not the end, but in the next part we will digress for a detailed description of the second alpha version of Haiku. Haiku R1A2.

To be continued

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