Xan opened the session by surveying the history of browsers in GNOME: Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome. The status of these browsers in GNOME has varying levels of integration but—of those remaining—they have vastly more resources than Epiphany currently does.

GNOME summit speaker photo

Xan proposed that we change our approach: browser as a service.


  • Integrated tab management
  • Web application integration (GMail), better Shell treatment, icons
  • Search results in the Shell
  • Direct results for unit conversion in search results

At this point Xan opened the floor to brainstorming for more ideas.

Next, the discussion moved to how to more deeply integrate WebkitGTK in to the platform. There was clear agreement that there should be two embedding API's: one where you want a browser-like experience and the other where you don't need chrome, cookies, caches, etc.

Jon McCann said that a good tab-window manager integration will require a lot of work so I should probably be a little later. Search integration is a more short-term objective.

There was a lot of discussion about what kinds of results could be shown in the search window. For example what API's are out there, whether it makes sense allow the provider to show ads if their EULA requires it, etc.

Xan and the GNOME Shell developers had a long discussion about unifying GNOME around a single JavaScript implementation. They spoke about three critical JavaScript features which are needed from WebKit: let, const, and destructured returns which are three Mozilla-specific extensions to the language. Xan worried that ES6 which has these features will change the Mozilla-specific semantics. The discussion was highly technical: a lot of concern about GObject-introspection semantics with Seed, for example. There was wide agreement that it would be a good goal but that these language features are really important. They decided to have breakout session to try and work through more of the technical details.