Not All WebKit Browsers Are Created Equal

It's behind some of the best desktop browsers, and all of the great mobile ones. But just because a company says they're using WebKit, the open source website rendering engine, doesn't guarantee an awesome browser.

Peter-Paul Koch at Quirksmode devised a battery of tests to see how different WebKit browsers measure up, and ran every browser from desktop Safari 4 to Mobile Safari 3.1 to the Pre's browser to S60V5 through a CSS and Javascript compatibility course, and found that some WebKit browsers are hardly WebKit browsers at all — especially on mobile. Some surprises? Android browsers aren't so hot, nor is the Pre's. And Nokia, which has had WebKit browsers forever, can't seem to make a good one.

There are really two culprits here: older versions of WebKit, which cripple browsers like S60v3's, and developers' need to pare their software down to make it run smoothly on mobile devices — in other words, some of these browsers have been stripped of HTML, CSS and Javascript rendering capabilities on purpose. What'd be really interesting is to see the above chart compared speed and performance, because as (apparently) bad as the Android G1's browser is at rendering CSS text shadows and :focus elements, using it is a far sight more enjoyable than struggling with the unconscionably slow Iris. Full methodology and test list at [Quirksmode via IntoMobile]