Tag Archives: Webkit

ChromeVis a new Chrome Extension for Users with low Vision

From text that is too small to read, to user interfaces that do not offer keyboard navigation options, users with special needs face a lot of challenges when trying to access websites they are interested in. Google Chrome team believe that extensions can complement the work the team is  doing to make Google Chrome more accessible and can help users with disabilities turn the web from an often unwelcoming place to an environment they can truly enjoy.

Today Google is  launching a new category of featured extensions under the name “Accessibility”. On this page you’ll find ChromeVis a brand new extension from Google that allows users with low vision to magnify and change the color of selected text. You will also find extensions like Chrome Daltonize that can help color blind users to see more details in web pages or gleeBox that provides alternatives to actions traditionally performed via the mouse such as clicking, scrolling and selecting text fields.

All users can benefit from these extensions – not just users with disabilities. To encourage more developers to incorporate best practices in accessibility when designing extensions, Google’ve open sourced the code behind Chrome Vis and created relevant documentation. You can get more information in the Chromium blog.

One can develop a lot of great extensions to benefit users with special needs. Google plan to release a few more in the next months so stay tuned for more updates.

Apple releases Safari 4 beta

Apple has finally released its much anticipated Safari update this morning along with a host of performance upgrades and feature additions. Tagged Safari 4 beta, the new version is available as a download from the Apple site only for the time being and will not update automatically via the Apple Software Update system. In terms of notable enhancements, here are some highlights:

  • Top Sites (pictured above) – A graphical representation of your most frequently-visited websites with one-click launching
  • Cover Flow – Browse bookmarks and history with Apple’s Cover Flow UI
  • Full History Search – Keyword history search with Cover Flow UI
  • Tabs – Tabs now appear above the address bar
  • “Nitro Engine” – Lame name, solid performance — Safari now executes JavaScript 4.2 times faster
  • Windows Native Look – Safari 4 beta for Windows now adopts the look and feel of a standard Windows program

So who’s excited? Are any non-Safari users going to give it another try with this release?

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Installing and Running WebKit in Linux Using Qt

I’m coming to appreciate more and more all of the hard work software developers perform. I wouldn’t consider myself an open source elitist, but there’s something special about the associated ideologies. When a large community of people band together to work on a project, a lot of fantastic products can be created.

One such product is WebKit, the open source Web browser rendering engine used by Safari (as well as a number of other products). It’s very important to keep in mind that Safari and WebKit are two very different things. Safari is a Web browser that uses WebKit as it’s rendering engine.

The WebKit developers put forth the effort to port WebKit to Qt, which is, as stated by the developers:

Qt is a comprehensive development framework that includes an extensive array of features, capabilities and tools that enable development of high-performance, cross-platform rich-client and server-side applications.

Qt is truly cross-platform and allows deployment on a wide range of hardware configurations, as opposed to other “cross-platform” products that are restricted to Windows and Mac OS X. The fact that the WebKit developers put forth the effort of porting to Qt4 gives users the ability to run their rendering engine on any platform. Thanks to their hard work, it’s quite easy to run a WebKit-based browser in Linux.

Preparing your Linux system for WebKit

I’d like to be explicit in saying that the following instructions are geared towards a fresh install of Ubuntu 7.04, FC8, FC9, OpenSuse 10.3 but should be applicable to a wide variety of other Linux distributions. First and foremost you’ll need to add extra repositories. After you have followed those steps we can begin.

There are a number of packages you’ll need to successfully build a Qt4 Web browser that uses WebKit.

There will be a lot of additional packages to install, so don’t be surprised if the list of packages for installation is significantly large.

Obtaining a nightly build of WebKit

Next, we’ll need to use Subversion to check out the WebKit source. The following command will check out files to a folder titled WebKit within your working directory, so be sure your working directory is appropriate (I used my home directory).

svn checkout http://svn.webkit.org/repository/webkit/trunk WebKit

You will be able to monitor the checkout process as each file is listed in your terminal.

Building your Qt4 WebKit browser

When the checkout is complete, you can initiate the build of your Qt4 WebKit browser using the following command:

QTDIR=/usr/share/qt4/ WebKit/WebKitTools/Scripts/build-webkit

The script will take a minute to prepare the build, and then the process will begin.

This step can take quite a bit of time depending on your hardware configuration, so take a few minutes to have a cup of coffee and relax while your browser is being built. Your terminal will scroll with hundreds of lines of build commands and more, so don’t feel the need to sit and watch it build (unless you’re interested — I was).

Running the browser

A successful build means you can run your Qt4 WebKit browser using the following command:

WebKit/WebKitBuild/Release/WebKitQt/QtLauncher/QtLauncher about:blank

A very basic browser window will appear with limited controls and an address bar. There will be some information scrolling in your terminal, but it can generally be disregarded.

You’ve now got a native WebKit browser to play around with in Linux. I took a second to attach the launch command to an entry in an panel using the WebKit icon. It’s more convenient than keeping the command saved somewhere to copy and paste when I’d like to test in WebKit.

Things to keep in mind

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re running a nightly build of WebKit, not the build Safari is using. The nightly versions are much more advanced than Safari’s WebKit, so some of the quirks that appear in Safari may be handled in your Qt4 browser.

Due to the version discrepancy, you can’t depend on a nightly build of WebKit sufficing for a legitimate test in Safari. It is useful, however, to take a quick look at overall structural elements of your designs before making the effort of moving to an OS X machine.

and Do export the path variables of QT and the Qt version must be >= 4.3

Happy Rendering