Embed a Web Viewer Library for Consistency (WebKit)

Idea created by Chris Irvine on Apr 4, 2016

    Shipping a known standard web rendering engine across all FM products would significantly improve developer opportunities and the customer's experience.


    The Web Viewer element already provides an excellent platform to do things on a FileMaker layout that would otherwise be impossible. Well beyond embedding a dynamic map, it enables our ability to use cutting edge libraries and user interface elements in our apps. These types of capabilities allow Custom Solutions to keep pace with with web development firms and easily outperform off-the-shelf software solutions.


    The current FileMaker technology approach to Web Viewers isn't precisely known, but we do know that variations in client platform (Windows vs Mac vs iOS) and also operating system version & patches all DO affect the behavior of Web Viewers. The open source WebKit framework is portable to many platforms and can be embedded into other products. Why not embed, or maybe bundle, the WebKit library into the FileMaker product line. The release notes of each FileMaker version could easily reference the WebKit version which ships inside it.

    Making this switch could/should:

    1. Improve rendering quality on Windows (e.g. print vector elements like SVG >72dpi)
    2. Generally improve feature set on Windows (IE browser hasn't implemented as many HTML/CSS/DOM/JS/SVG features as does WebKit.)
    3. Reduce compatibility bugs when solutions are deployed in heterogeneous environments
    4. Allow for some level of testing (e.g. "I've tested this on FMP version x.x.x, it will work for you the same way.")
    5. Enable the powerful WebKit inspector for developers on non-Mac platforms

    I think this switch could fit nicely with some of the other related requests, such as Native interaction between web viewer and fields and Perform JavaScript Function. It might work with or be a better alternative than Have FileMaker Installer automatically opt-in for new IE version for web viewer.