Anne van Kesteren

Contributing to WebKit

Over the last couple weeks I have looked at the WebKit code with the intent of fixing a few things in areas of the web platform I’m familiar with as a personal curiosity. The code had always appeared hackable to me, but I had never given it a go in practice. In fact, this is the first time I have written C++ in my life! Marcos had given me a quick guide to set up my environment and I was off to the races.

It has been a lot of fun trying to get things to compile and making tests pass. And also have the chance to study how things are implemented in more detail. I wish web standards had some of the checks available in C++. Now I am well aware that C++ does not have the best reputation, but English is even more error-prone. Granted, the level of abstraction English sits at can also make things easier.

I can heartily recommend this to anyone who has been interested in doing this, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating. Mind that the first contribution is a bit of a hurdle and can be humbling. Definitely was for me! I recommend tackling something that seems doable, but as with a lot of things it appears to get easier over time.