Mozilla Has Done the Improbable, It Built an iPad Browser Based on WebKit

It's called Junior and it is an interesting take on tablet browsers

  The Junior iPad browser in all its glory
Mozilla has done the unthinkable. Or the implausible, or maybe just the inevitable, depending on how you look at it, it has built an iPad browser. Those that know the reason why Mozilla hasn't built an iPad browser so far, will have an immediate question, how could Mozilla build an iPad browser, or an iOS one for that matter?

That's because Apple doesn't allow apps that have their own web rendering engine, i.e. most browsers, in the App Store.

Well, the answer is simple and obvious, it built it like everyone else, by ditching Gecko and building on top of WebKit. What this means is that the browser will not be Firefox. That was actually the big hurdle.

When Mozilla created its Android version of Firefox it knew that it couldn't do the same for iOS. It said it at the time and repeated it since, it can't build a browser for such a closed platform. But what it meant was, it couldn't build Firefox.

For many Mozilla and Firefox fans, building the browser on top of the WebKit rendering engine, used by Safari and Chrome among many others, is sacrilege.

In fact, it's worse than that on the iPad, Mozilla can't even build its own WebKit into the browser, it has to use the one provided by Safari, just like any other browser in iOS. Except for Opera Mini, which is not technically a browser, not in the traditional sense.

What it's left with, the things it can actually do, is the user interface and experience. It's what everyone competing in the iOS browser market does too. But Mozilla thinks it can do it better.

Last week, during a presentation, Mozilla unveiled Junior, its iPad browser. It's still in the early stages, but it's definitely coming, it's not just a wild experiment.

The browser was built by a dedicated team at Mozilla and it's looking pretty slick. The team wanted to do things differently, to make a browser that feels native to a tablet and to also make the web feel more like an app. And they may actually have managed that. Find out how here.

Comments