Google has announced that after years of keeping Chrome for iOS separate from its Chromium project, it is now open-sourcing the browser on Apple’s mobile platform. Despite the “additional complexity” associated with the platform, the company says that its team spent a lot of time over the past several years to make the necessary changes required to upstream the code for Chrome on iOS into Chromium.
If you are wondering why Chrome for iOS was kept separate from the Chromium project even though Android version joined Chromium back in 2015, this is because the iOS version of the browser is built on top of the WebKit rendering engine instead of Google’s Blink engine. Due to the constraints associated with iOS, all browsers must be built on top of WebKit rendering engine, Google reminded readers in its blog post.
“For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome’s rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base,” it added.
The upstreaming for the code has now been completed and developers can now compile the iOS version of Chromium just like they do for other platforms. “Development speed is also faster now that all of the tests for Chrome for iOS are available to the entire Chromium community and automatically run any time that code is checked in,” the company said.
Google recently started rolling out Chrome 56 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The latest version of the desktop browser notably flags certain HTTP websites as unsafe in the address bar and also puts HTML5 as default over Flash for all users.