WebLayer is a high level embedding API to support building a browser.

Unlike src/content, which is only concerned with a sandboxed multi-process web platform, WebLayer includes modern browser features and Google integration. It's the reusable version of Chrome, which might share some portions of the UI and also its support for all the modern HTML5 and browser features (e.g. UI for permissions, autofill, safe browsing etc...).

While it's built on top of src/content, the expectation is that the API will hide the Content API.

Design Goals

  1. WebLayer should be powerful enough to build a modern browser. This means:
    • as fast and secure as Chrome
    • includes all the same web platform features as Chrome (including UIs and system integration code)
  2. WebLayer embedders should get new web platform features for free (e.g. don't need to keep updating their UIs or code)
  3. WebLayer hides subprocesses, so any code that needs to run in the renderer needs to be part of WebLayer. Script injection is generally discouraged for security and performance reasons.

Resources and Documentation

Mailing list: weblayer-dev@chromium.org

Bug tracker: Internals>WebLayer

Directory Structure

public the C++ and Java public API. These are the only files an app should use

shell sample app

‘test’ test harnesses and test-only helper code

‘tools’ helper scripts

‘app’ internal code which runs at the beginning of each process

browser internal code which runs in the browser process

common internal code which runs in the browser and child processes

renderer internal code which runs in the renderer process

utility internal code which runs in the utility process

Setting Up Your Build Environment

If you haven't done this already, you first need to set up an Android build. If you are a Google employee, reach out to weblayer-team@google.com for internal instructions. Otherwise follow the Android build instructions.

Building and Testing

To run the sample app:

$ autoninja -C out/Default run_weblayer_shell $ out/Default/bin/run_weblayer_shell

To run instrumentation tests:

$ autoninja -C out/Default weblayer_instrumentation_test_apk $ out/Default/bin/run_weblayer_instrumentation_test_apk

Note: this may not work on some versions of Android. If you see an error setting the WebView provider when running instrumentation tests, try running the tests using the WebLayer support APK which uses a different loading path:

$ autoninja -C out/Default weblayer_support_instrumentation_test_apk $ out/Default/bin/run_weblayer_support_instrumentation_test_apk

The test script will build and install all necessary APKs.