Hi Everyone,

I recently watched a video on the topic of preventing poisonous people from hurting an open source project. One of the practices it recommends for a large open source project is to have a "mission statement", so it's clear to everyone what is and isn't in scope for the project. I'm not too fond of the name "mission statement" (it sounds a little corporate) but I do think it's important to write down our goals as a project.

Ultimately I'd like to put this on the WebKit site, but I wanted to throw out some ideas for discussion. I'd like to hear if anyone thinks I have missed any project goals, if any of these are worded badly, or if it is worth calling out more non-goals.

WebKit Project Goals

WebKit is an open source Web content engine for browsers and other applications. We value real-world web compatibility, standards compliance, stability, performance, security, portability, usability and relative ease of understanding and modifying the code (hackability).

Web Content Engine - The project's primary focus is content deployed on the World Wide Web, using standards-based technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the DOM. However, we also want to make it possible to embed WebKit in other applications, and to use it as a general-purpose display and interaction engine.

Open Source - WebKit should remain freely usable for both open source and proprietary applications. To that end, we use BSD-style and LGPL licenses.

Compatibility - For users browsing the web, compatibility with their existing sites is essential. We strive to maintain and improve compatibility with existing web content, sometimes even at the expense of standards. We use regression testing to maintain our compatibility gains.

Standards Compliance - WebKit aims for compliance with relevant web standards, and support for new standards In addition to improving compliance, we participate in the web standards community to bring new technologies into standards, and to make sure new standards are pratical to implement in our engine. We use regression testing to maintain our standards compliance gains.

Stability - The main WebKit code base should always maintain a high degree of stability. This means that crashes, hangs and regressions should be dealt with promptly, rather than letting them pile up.

Performance - Maintaining and improving speed and memory use is an important goal. We never consider performance "good enough", but strive to constantly improve. As web content becomes richer and more complex, and as web browsers run on more limited devices, performance gains continue to have value even if normal browsing seems fast enough.

Security - Protecting users from security violations is critical. We fix security issues promptly to protect users and maintain their trust.

Portability - The WebKit project seeks to address a variety of needs. We want to make it reasonable to port WebKit to a variety of desktop, mobile, embedded and other platforms. We will provide the infrastructure to do this with tight platform integration, reusing native platform services where appropriate and providing friendly embedding APIs.

Usability - To the extent that WebKit features affect the user experience, we want them to work in accordance with good human interface design principles, and to mesh well with platform-native HI conventions.

Hackability - To make rapid progress possible, we try to keep the code relatively easy to understand, even though web technologies are often complex. We try to use straightforward algorithms and data structures when possible, we try to write clear, maintainable code, and we continue to improve names and code structure to aid understanding. When tricky "rocket science" code is truly needed to solve some problem, we try to keep it bottled up behind clean interfaces.


WebKit is an engine, not a browser. We do not plan to develop or host a full-featured web browser based on WebKit. Others are welcome to do so, of course.

WebKit is an engineering project not a science project. For new features to be adopted into WebKit, we strongly prefer for the technology or at least the use case for it to be proven.

WebKit is not a bundle of maximally general and reusable code - we build some general-purpose parts, but only to the degree needed to be a good web content engine.

WebKit is not the solution to every problem. We focus on web content, not complete solutions to every imaginable technology need.

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