[webkit-dev] Is WebKit suitable for a gaming platform?

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Thu May 22 23:17:47 PDT 2008

On May 22, 2008, at 11:06 PM, Paul Pedriana wrote:

> We are considering porting WebKit to work on gaming consoles (e.g.  
> XBox
> 360, PlayStation 3). We want to have browsing functionality within our
> games.
> The primary issue with this is likely to be one of memory. When  
> running
> within a game, a web browser has little more than a few megabytes of  
> to work with, as the rest of the game will be needing the majority of
> the memory. Since much of the time the user will be going to web sites
> under our control (usually our own web site), we can omit browser
> functionality that isn't going to be needed, such as SVG display and
> support for unusual languages. Also, it's OK if some speed is  
> sacrificed
> as a result of reducing memory requirements (e.g. for memory and font
> caches).
> We have talked to commercial mobile web browser providers (like phone
> browsers), and they can run in as little as 2MB of heap space for  
> simple
> web pages, yet are standards-compliant. And our own in-house browser
> which we wrote but would rather not maintain runs in as little as  
> 512 KB
> of heap space. So we have reason to feel that < 5MB is a reasonable
> target. We realize that huge pages and graphics are going to use more
> memory than this baseline.
> Key question(s): What is the minimum amount of heap space that WebKit
> requires in order to run? Is WebKit efficient with memory? Are we
> possibly likely to have any success in this endeavor?

WebKit's memory use depends a lot on:

1) Memory use of the underlying platform libraries it is ported to.
2) Memory cache sizes (which can be tuned).
3) Which features are enabled or disabled (many are #ifdef'd).

WebKit has been ported to mobile phones with very little RAM, so your  
project sounds feasible, but I think you'd have to test with your  
sites and see what you can get out of a custom build to know with more  


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