Latest WebKit nightly build includes built-in update functionality

As of the current nightly build (39852), WebKit — the developmental version of Safari, available for public testing — has added the capability to update to the latest build within itself, obviating the need for third party software like NightShift.

The Rumors team has been a very active part of WebKit development/testing since its very first day — just as we are known throughout the industry for being prolific beta testers of both hardware & software.

(If you are a hardware and/or software developer with a developmental, beta, or pre-release product you’d like us to help test — and with your explicit permission, review for our readers who are very interested in such technology — please contact us as soon as possible: to make arrangements!)

We do of course use other browsers, notably Mozilla Firefox, for various purposes….but have always been passionate supporters of Safari/Webkit and its underlying technology.

Since WebKit nightly builds have been available to the public, we have always used (and recommended to other advanced Mac users) the third-party utility to scan for and download the latest build on a daily basis.

Now, through what appears to be the popular “Sparkle” auto-update framework (or something very similar), Webkit is able to scan for and update to the latest nightly build either manually or automatically; no need to launch a separate application or even think about it. Approximately every 24 hours, Webkit will grab the latest nightly on its own and this makes participating in the bug-squashing process much easier.

After all, if you are running an out of date build and report a bug which has already been fixed, you’re wasting your time as well as that of the amazing people who work on Webkit in Cupertino — and in some cases, even that of third parties who also contribute changes, patches & fixes to the powerful web browser.

If you frequently use Safari and don’t mind living on the cutting edge — Webkit is actually remarkably stable and reliable for most things, plus you have the opportunity to play an important role in making it even better! — we strongly recommend you start using We can’t say enough good things about it, and the role it plays in our day to day work can’t possibly be overstated.

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  • admin

    By the way, for those interested: build 39852, released last night, was updated a short time ago with the new Sparkle-style internal application-update framework to build 39872 (a quite respectable build iteration in under 24 hours; Apple and the many contributing third parties deserve considerable praise for the quality of their collaborative work process!).

    We reported a bug on 39852 shortly before noticing that 39872 had been posted, a rather embarrassing circumstance to be in. One wonders if future builds could allow for some sort of push-notification or active time-polling system, short of 24 hours, to let the really advanced users who might want to submit bugs using the “Bug Button” rather than only when CrashReporter comes up on its own… ensured of submitting bugs based on something confirmed to be reproducible in the current build.

    Of course, odds are if we found a valid bug in Webkit/GMail, then it still exists in 39852 since it would appear to be a rare and difficut to reproduce bug similar to something we noticed a while back with Facebook and cookies/sessions….but still, something we hope we’ll have the chance to talk to the project maintainers (or someone able to field such questions, in a spare moment — we’d hardly press them for anything “insider” being public faces of the company under considerable pressure to be discreet with whatever little truly “insider” information they might be privvy to!) at some point down the road.

    In any case, we can’t recommend the Webkit version of Safari enough, provided that you’re a user savvy and comfortable enough with “living on the edge” regarding nightly builds of this sort to accept the (surprisingly small, usually — but there aren’t any of the guarantees one gets with an official release!) risks that go along with it.

    In the recent past, Webkit users have been treated to powerful features, many of them similar to or even superior to what we’ve been seeing out of Google’s “Chrome” project (which we’ll be looking at very soon, BTW, as well, in its current ‘TestShell’ incarnation with its own nightly builds)…..which users of Safari didn’t get to use for months — and in some cases, have yet to be able to use at all.

    So being a member of the “ nightly-grabbers’ club” certainly has its benefits.

  • admin

    ….and while we’re at it, if you enjoyed the additional content provided by the above comment, you’ll want to be keeping an eye on this space; perhaps even taking the time to submit comments & questions of you own.

    They’re still moderated, and we do have some issues to iron out with our traffic-balancing technology that causes page reloads which shouldn’t affect comment posting but seem to nonetheless…..but if you submit a non-flaming, non-offensive comment we’ll do our best to ensure that it gets on the site — and that your questions, if any, will be answered.

    Even some time after the original article was posted to our front page, there will be significant new updates & activity in the comment threads which follow many of our articles. We hope you will take the time to read them, and keep up with them after reading the original article — even if you’re too busy at the time to participate.

  • jms

    I know this is very old news by now, but just today I was wondering about that and your article was exactly what I needed! Thank you.

  • pepijn de Vos

    @jms: same for me, I'm downloading Webkit now.

  • pepijn de Vos

    @jms: same for me, I'm downloading Webkit now.