Chrome for iOS to Get Better as it Becomes Open Source


Google has finally updated its Chromium open-source repository with the Chrome code for iOS, enabling developers to benefit from Google’s code and potentially create their own browsers or suggest improvements to Chrome’s iOS code as well.

In the long run, this can mean plenty of improvements to Chrome for iOS as well as several other web browsers for iOS based on the stable code by Google for Chrome.

Open-sourcing the Chrome code of iOS will result in a faster-developing environment for Google Chrome itself.

“Given Chrome’s commitment to open-source code, we’ve spent a lot of time over the past several years making the changes required to upstream the code for Chrome for iOS into Chromium. Today, that upstreaming is complete, and developers can compile the iOS version of Chromium like they can for other versions of Chromium,” the company stated.

Earlier the company had kept the code for Chrome for iOS separate from the rest of the Chromium projects, due to the complex nature of the programme.

But now Google has refactored the code and moved it into the open-source repository which will be accessible to all.

Chromium is an open-source internet browser, which has the same code as Google Chrome. Any new features that are meant for the Chrome browser are first tested on Chromium before being officially released for Chrome.

“Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base,” Google adds.

Chrome uses Blink as rendering engine for other platforms and WebKit for iOS — integrating the two was a complex procedure and Google has finally been able to upstream code of Chrome for iOS into Chromium.

Open-sourcing the Chrome for iOS means that development of the iOS version will be faster than before as the tests will be available to the entire Chromium community and will also automatically run as soon as a code is checked in.

Even though iOS has its inbuilt Safari browser, but Chrome remains a popular choice for users, mainly due to its automatic sync of bookmarks, preferences and other data, across devices logged in via the same Gmail id.

In the long run, this move by Google will prove useful for Apple users as they’re sure to be greeted with a plethora of browsers by different developers based on the Chrome code — assuring a stable build too.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.