Archive for May, 2011

Your own protocols, Page Visibility API and the GPU-accelerated 2D canvas

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 13

A total of 1,515 commits, 627 for WebKit and 888 for Chromium (made by 220 authors!), brought a large number of interesting changes again this week. Highlights include new features such as the Page Visibility API and the possibility of registering your own protocol.

One well anticipated feature of HTML5 is the possibility to a custom protocol for your site. Starting at revision 86944, registerProtocolHandler is now enabled for all versions of Chromium. It features a neat settings page and allows the browser to become the default handler for arbitrary protocols on Mac OS X and Windows. However, no peter:// for me: the recently added whitelist requires custom protocols to be prefixed with web+.

As for specification related updates, the frequency at which selectstart will be fired has been brought back to just once. The RGBA serialization algorithm has been updated to match the HTML5 specification, just one blur-event will be dispatched when tabbing out with an invalid value and CSS Selector matching has been fixed in regards to attribute selectors. The sniffing mechanism for images has been updated per the latest draft.

There has also been lots of work on implementing new features. Following last month’s v8 change, WebKit now also implements Float64Array‘s for JavaScript. Work on <input type=color> is progressing steadily, the Stream and GeneratedStream classes have been implemented, as have HTML5′s TrackList, MultipleTrackList and ExclusiveTrackList objects. Finally, Yael Aharon implemented the dropzone attribute.

Adam Barth added support for the new crossorigin property on image elements. The attribute, which will eventually also work with video and audio elements, will allow canvasses to properly use remote images if the CORS header allows it, including usage of the getImageData and toDataURL methods. Meanwhile, Jay Civelli added support for reading MHTML files to WebKit. The plan is to allow exporting pages to MHTML archives too.

Other changes which occurred in the last week:

And that’d be all again! If you’re a fan of web conferences, be sure to take a look at this year’s Fronteers! We’ve just announced five more speakers: Divya Manian, Jake Archibald, John Resig, Stephen Hay and, last but not least, Robert Nyman. Only 30 early-bird tickets are still available, so don’t wait too long ;)

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CurveCP, background event collection and major SVG Filter speed-ups

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 13

Last week brought a total of 1,228 changes, 529 at WebKit and 699 at Chromium. Highlights include CurveCP, a possible alternative to the TCP transport layer, multi-core SVG Filters and DynamicsCompressorNode.


A private extension API has been added to Chromium adding the capability to communicate with handshake-less TCP service via a proxied Web Socket, such as IRC and SSH. This addresses one of the limitations which were made in favor of security and will, for now, only be available for selected extensions like an SSH client.

Furthermore, an initial implementation of Dan Bernstein’s CurveCP transport layer landed in Chromium. While the plans are still unknown and not everyone is optimistic about the layer itself, CurveCP is similar to TCP but uses high-speed high-security elliptic-curve cryptography to protect every packet against espionage and sabotage.

Web Inspector has been enhanced with the ability to collect background networking events. These are events which occur while the Inspector itself is closed, but will be available when you open it up again. Non-color properties won’t receive a color picker in the Styles pane anymore and incrementing or decrementing very large numeric values in CSS rules no longer results in an invalid declaration.

Now that the ParallelJobs Framework has been available for about a month, work has started to enhance several SVG filters to distribute work over multiple processor cores. The FELighting, FEGaussianBlur and FEConvolveMatrix filters have been updated, yielding performance improvements between 10 and 30 percent.

As for specification-related improvements, HTML5′s numeric input won’t show a zero anymore if the input’s range does not allow the value 0. The region of an area element will be updated when it dynamically has been altered, border-radius properties with negative values will be ignored and document.activeElement will now point to the active iframe element in case content within it has been focused.

Other changes which occurred last week:

  • A new version of Chrome’s client-side phishing model has been rolled out to Chromium.
  • Text-based input elements have been updated to use the Shadow DOM.
  • Work on <input type=color> has begun within WebKit, with various patches up for review.
  • <output>, <meter> and <progress> elements with display: block aren’t tab-focusable anymore.
  • Brent Fulgham and Dirk Pranke are now WebKit Reviewers, congratulations!
  • Support for WebDriver’s alert commands was added to Chromium’s ChromeDriver implementation.
  • A separate link-relation has been added for prerender, to distinguish it from prefetch.
  • The disable-javascript-urls Content-Security-Policy directive has been removed.
  • Some minor progress has been made on updating the Web Socket implementation.
  • Detailed Heap Snapshots in Web Inspector are now enabled by default for Chromium.
  • Two new extension API methods were added to Chromium regarding handwriting functionalities.
  • Support for local stream requests was added to the Media Stream API.
  • Chris Rogers added an implementation for the Web Audio API’s DynamicsCompressorNode.
  • Support for real-time audio threads was added to Chromium, but only implemented for Mac OS X.
  • The event.clientX/clientY properties will now be non-zero when tracking a click on a label.
  • The HTML5 details element will remain enabled for Chromium.
  • Images have been added to Chromium for a new Image Burner user-interface.
  • Support for Motion JPEG has been added to Chrome’s libjpeg-turbo implementation.

And that’ll be all for this week! :)

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Compact Navigation, Print Preview and the CSS3 Grid Layout Module

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 13

With 484 commits to the WebKit repository and 742 to the Chromium one, totaling up to 1,226 changesets, it has been an average week. This week’s highlights include the Print Preview feature, now available by default, compact navigation and the Page Visibility API.

One well anticipated feature, Print Preview, has now been enabled by default for Google Chrome Builds. The feature generates a PDF file from the opened website and allows you to either save it to a file or send it to a printer, with various options such as orientation and use of colors. Print Preview is not available within Chromium, due to limitations on the used PDF library.

A new type of navigation has been added to Google Chrome, namely Compact Navigation. By making the address bar optional and moving the wrench menu to the title-bar, Chrome’s user interface will now only be 30 pixels in height on Windows. While this would be ideal for pinned tabs and applications, it can cause serious security issues for secured websites as the displayed address is no longer visible.

Shishir Agrawal landed an initial version of the Web Performance’s latest specification: the Page Visibility API. The API allows developers to tune performance of their application based on whether the page (or, more commonly, tab) is visible, similar to how requestAnimationFrame stops working when the tab is hidden. While browsers such as Chrome and Firefox will increase the minimum interval for timers to about a second when a page doesn’t have focus, the API allows for more friendly approaches to be taken by the developer.

As for other specification related updates, the onchange event will now fire for radio-groups when the user changes selection through their keyboard. An issue in handling the currentColor value for SVG elements has been fixed, positioning of validation bubbles on non-text input elements has been corrected, an element’s onclick event won’t fire anymore if it got removed earlier on and the noresize attribute for frames can now be set via JavaScript. Finally, Dave Hyatt seems to start implementing the CSS3 Grid Layout Module!

Other changes which occurred last week:

  • The XSS Auditor doesn’t block all http-equiv meta-elements anymore.
  • The style sidebar in Web Inspector will now be updated based on changes in
    the Resources Panel, including for free-flow text editing.
  • Throttling of the WebGL framerate has been made more accurate.
  • A minor update for the Media Streaming API: exceptions for getUserMedia.
  • Semi-transparent colors for an element’s outlines won’t overlap at the corners anymore.
  • Due to this addition, Chromium will be able to use DNS Prefetching again.
  • The path, build type and more additional information will now be shown in about:version
  • The Remoting host-component has been removed from Chromium, supposedly going to be a plugin.
  • Chromoting seems to have officially been renamed to Remoting now.
  • An option has been added to toggle the availability of background extensions.
  • Panels on Windows can now contain and display (themed) title bars.
  • Pop-ups will now properly be blocked when created in sandboxed iframes.
  • IndexedDB will no longer be visible within sandboxed iframes.
  • Error messages for the Application Cache will now show up in Web Inspector.
  • Following a series of patches, strict PassOwnPtr has now been enabled for Chromium.
  • The headers of an request are now retrievable by the WebRequest API.
  • A context-menu has been added to Chromium OS’ file browser.
  • Function constructors can now be blocked by Content-Security-Policy.
  • Touch Icons have been linked up to the Chromium post, though still no visible usage.

As a special comment, I’d like to thank RIM’s Eli Fidler for the great chats and demonstrating WebKit’s remote debugging capability of the PlayBook. Mostly thanks to Krijn, Peter-Paul and Stephen, I had a great time at Mobilism. If you’re into the mobile web, be sure to attend the event next year!

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Inspectable Shadow DOM, the file browser and new default avatars

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 13

Today’s update addresses some of the changes among the 1,280 commits which were made last week. Since I haven’t had any time at all, it’s not as detailed as usual, but contains several highlights. The Shadow DOM is now visible through Web Inspector, quite some polishing is being done on Chrome OS’ file browser and new default avatars for Chrome OS’ landed.

Chrome OS’ file manager has been in development for quite a while now. It’s based on the FileSystem API, features a list of files and folders and a side-panel with additional information. With the final file-type icons now in place and some secret shortcuts, it looks like the feature is coming together nicely. Besides local storage, the manager will support USB drives, memory cards, network storage and possibly digital cameras.

As for WebKit’s specification related changes, fixed text-indents used for input placeholders will now be respected. JavaScript may now be used to set !important CSS rules, the document.innerHTML property has been added and the preload attribute for media elements is now implemented correctly for Safari.

Other things which occurred last week:

  • Support for Core Animation has been added to Chromium’s Cairo-renderer.
  • Accelerated 2D canvasses in Chromium will now use Skia by default.
  • Client-side phishing detection won’t be enabled for stable builds just yet.
  • The skeleton of the Media Stream API within WebKit has been outlined.
  • Drag and drop effects for the Touch UI’s New Tab Page have been improved.
  • An IME UI-related extension API will be implemented (though got reverted).
  • A cross-document DOM binding fuzzer, cross_fuzz, landed to help making Chrome more stable.
  • Chromium on Mac OS X will now use the Garuda and Devanagari fonts to display Thai and Hindi text.
  • Parts three and four of WebKit’s Fullscreen API for Safari on Windows landed, completing it.
  • The default avatars to be used for Chrome OS have landed in the tree. They look awesome!
  • The navigationStart property of the Navigation Timing API will now be available for all request
    types, including cross-origin requests.
  • The Pepper API now works out-of-process in the Windows sandbox.
  • The “Report-only” mode and “disable-javascript-urls” directive for CSP have been implemented.
  • Web Inspector now supports a pane providing access to an element’s Shadow tree.
  • Elements in the Shadow DOM can now use access keys.

And that’ll be all again!

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Google Canary on Mac OS X, EPUB’s CSS prefix and multithreaded SVG filters

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 13

With lucky number 13 -Chromium’s current version- now available, version 12 has been branched. Last week’s 1,423 commits bring highlights such as Google Chrome Canary which will be coming to Mac OS X, a new CSS property prefix for the EPUB format and lots of removed code.

While it has not been released yet, Google does seem to be ready to release Google Chrome Canary for Mac OS X systems. The browser cannot be made the default browser through the preferences and the release monitor says that the latest version was released today, using the same revision as Windows’ Canary.

Web Inspector will now show hyperlink auditing requests in the network panel. Copying data from the Resources panel has been made easier, the option “Open link in new tab” has been added to several context menus and it’s now possible to follow retained paths in detailed heap snapshots.

Following discussion on both the mailing list and during the contributor meeting, support for WML (“Wireless Markup Language”) has been removed from WebKit. This was a logical step as only BlackBerry needs to continue to support WML, and are doing so through a proprietary plugin. Microsoft and Opera still support it. Other code removed includes the Image Resizer, support for datagrids and Android’s build system.

As for specification related updates, setting outerHTML on an element will now merge text nodes. The onchange event on text fields has been made more reliable, styling a speech input-button with paddings and borders has been improved and the root element will now establish a new block formatting context, and will therefore expand to enclose overhanging floats. Finally, the CSS sibling selector (~) now works properly with the :target pseudo-class.

WebKit now supports the -epub- CSS property-prefix as an alias, similar to its support for the -apple- and -khtml- prefixes. This addition was made following a conference call in the EPUB Working Group last Thursday, and while not all issues have been resolved yet, it’s likely that they’re here to stay. One thing which is surprising is the fact that all vendors will use the same prefix: -epub-, contrary to CSS’ vendor prefixes.

Other changes which occurred last week:

  • WebKit now supports localized date strings for date input fields.
  • Chris Evans added a setting which will, when enabled, be able to block insecure content on secure pages.
  • Support for pressing mouse-buttons has been added to Chromium’s Web Driver implementation.
  • Support for executing asynchronous scripts has also been added to the Chromium’s Web Driver.
  • The Web Inspector’s Extension API namespace has been changed to chrome.experimental.devtools.
  • Initial support for creating panels has been added for Windows, including dragging them.
  • The framework for speeding up SVG Filters for multicore processors has landed, including an
    implementation for the FETurbulence filter.
  • Mark Pilgrim started porting Mozilla’s IndexedDB test-cases and made small bug fixes. Curious.
  • An FFTFrame implementation for FFmpeg has been added for the Web Audio API.
  • Docking Web Inspector to the browser window using the WebKit2 API is now a possibility.
  • The first parts of the fullscreen API for Safari on Windows have landed at WebKit.
  • An early take at supporting drag and drop for Chromium’s Touch UI New Tab Page has landed.
  • The new Quota API may be enabled by supplying the –enable-quota flag to Chromium.
  • Dimitri Glazkov taught CSS sub-selector chains how to deal with shadow descendants.
  • An early version of a Views-based combobox has landed for Chromium.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 now have a lower priority for the IO process.
  • Support for transparent WebKit instances was added for WebView under Windows.
  • The Content-Security-Policy implementation now blocks eval and stylesheets, inline ones too.

Since I won’t have any time at all this week, I expect the update to be rather short. Till then!

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