Posts Tagged ‘Chrome-8’

Spontaneously combusting browsers, the FileSystem API and surround sound

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 8

With another 1080 commits decorating the repositories there’s enough to tell you about last week again.

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the about:labs page last week. Firstly, it has been renamed to “about:flags“, and for good reason: almost all criteria for adding new entries to the page have been lifted, meaning that pretty much everything which has a command line flag may have a place on that page. While this obviously is a good thing for convenience, it also means something could be enabled which constantly crashes Chrome. For that reason, the “–no-experiments” flag has been added.

Within WebKit support for the “onreadystatechange” event on the Document has been added, anchor elements now have the getParameter method from Adam Barth’s URL API and canvasses are now aware of the currentColor color. Also, all IndexedDB related properties on the window object have been prefixed with “webkit”. Unfortunately, support for <script defer> has been reverted.

The Chromium Team chose to enable their implementation of the FileSystem API by default. The API, which still is rather unknown among developers, has been built on top of two other specifications: the File API and the File Writer API. When you combine them and throw in some directories, Chrome’s latest feature comes out.

One of the larger use-cases I can see with the API is its ability to act like an extensive, hierarchic and programmable Application Cache. Suppose you’re making an online application which works like Spotify, the interface, playlists and all could be stored offline using a manifest, but the music itself wouldn’t be available offline. Using the FileSystem API, you could create a directory for each playlist and store the audio-files in them. There is a downside too, as the advocated API is asynchronous, it has a steep learning curve.

Other changes this week include:

  • Chromium now supports 5.1 surround sounds, no more downmixing to stereo.
  • The screen.availLeft property can now contain negative values as well.
  • Some basic documentation about creating CRX (extension) files has been released.
  • Search providers may now have separate URLs for instant results.
  • Zombies have been clarified.
  • You can now disable the spellchecker in design-mode by setting the spellcheck attribute.
  • A ruby’s base will no longer be affected by generated :before/:after content.
  • Scrollbars on iframes with scrolling=”no” are now really gone.
  • Some initial work has been done on having transforms affect a page’s scrolling.
  • The “transparent” color is now valid in WebKit.
  • Some fixes were done related to JavascriptCore’s Automatic Semicolon Insertion.
  • execCommand(‘formatBlock’) now supports twelve new elements.
  • The WebKit Cairo port now uses their new ContextShadow system for shadows.

So, that’s it for this week. Thanks for reading and if you’ve got any comments or suggestions, feel free to add a comment about them, e-mail me or poke me on Twitter!

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IndexedDB, Milestone 8, ES5 Strict Mode and progress on Print Preview

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 8

Only three commits short of 700 in the past week, the Chromium Team has been quite active. The Chromium nightlies have been pushed up to version 8, just over seven weeks after version seven. WebKit received 485 commits, but there were some large changes among them like support for ECMAScript 5′s Strict Mode.

Well over two years after Eric Lake filed Issue 173, there is finally some visible progress on previewing a print in Chromium. When using the latest nightly, you should launch Chrome using the “–enable-print-preview” flag and browse to “chrome://print/” to see a (not working!) preview of the feature. Enabling the Cloud Printing Proxy for Windows may now be done through the Labs page and a lot of work on supporting the CSS Paged Media Modules has been completed already. The feature is currently scheduled for milestone 9, which may be as soon as six weeks from now.

Another large change is that support for IndexedDB has been enabled by default. IndexedDB is a specification originally proposed by Oracle, but currently is being edited by experts from Google, Mozilla and Microsoft as well. Especially the latter makes this interesting, because since Opera’s Charles McCathieNevile has been positive about IndexedDB as well, chances on getting an interoperable database system are looking good.

The Web Inspector team hasn’t been idle either, and although I haven’t said much about it in the past few weeks, there certainly are some exciting changes coming up. Some more fine-tuning was done on the Network panel, the Extension API now also exposes a document’s body. Setting breakpoints on specific events will become a possibility too! And did I mention remote debugging?

Many of these features are still disabled in the Chromium builds. If you’d like to play around with them, you will either have to build Chromium yourself or create yourself a WebKit build. In time these features will be enabled for all Chromium builds, something which surely will be announced on the Chromium Blog.

Also great news for the Safari users, as Oliver Hunt landed support for ECMAScript 5′s Strict Mode just a few hours ago. In a nutshell, strict mode will disable some really bad practices in your JavaScript code like eval() and the with-construct. These changes couldn’t be applied by default, considering ECMAScript 5 had to remain backwards-compatible with ECMAScript 3. Until today, Kangax’ compatibility page shows that BESEN was the only JavaScript engine to support it, although Mozilla is actively working on supporting it.

Other changes this week include:

Finally I just want to note down that I really don’t think recordings like these are going to make me popular, even though Christian Heilmann obviously thinks otherwise. A big thank you to the organization of Fronteers 2010, all the speakers, and of course all the visitors. The conference has been really great, cheers for that!

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