Crankshaft, the Chrome Web Store and HTML5’s figure element

Published on in Google Chrome, Last Week, tech, WebKit. Version: Chrome 10

Even though there were just 1016 commits in the last seven days, the announcements from the Chrome team have certainly made it interesting. This week’s highlights include Crankshaft, extensive documentation for Web Inspector and quite some updates on specification support.

Tuesday, Google’s Sundar Pichai went on stage to make some announcements around the Chromium project. While it was rather obvious that the Chrome Web Store and Chrome OS would be announced, I did not expect free laptops for reviewing purposes to be given away. Neither did I expect the Crankshaft update to the V8 JavaScript engine, which significantly improves performance. Since I’m sure you’ve read most of it, I’ll just give a quick recap:

  • The V8 team has introduced Crankshaft which uses adaptive compiling to focus optimizations on the areas that need it. It’s available on the Canary channel already.
  • Chrome OS’ development has entered the stage at which it needs feedback from end-users. People living in the United States can apply for a notebook in the Pilot program.
  • The Chrome Web Store has been launched! Already filled with a wide range of applications, it can strongly increase the capabilities of your browser.

The Google Chrome Developer Tools, or simply Web Inspector, is quite an extensive piece of software. Almost every developer will be familiar with the main screen: a clear overview of the elements available on the page and the CSS rules associated with them. But not everyone is aware that you can expand the Properties pane in the sidebar to see all the DOM properties, let alone the possibility to profile your JavaScript’s CPU usage, create memory heap snapshots or list the cookies which were sent when downloading an image.

Therefore excellent documentation has been published clearing up some of the most popular and useful features. Check out how the Profiles panel works, watch a video about debugging JavaScript or debug more efficiently by using keyboard shortcuts.

In terms of improved standards support, the marquee element will now stop scrolling if scrollAmount has been set to zero. The object element now is an associated form element. Furthermore, I’ve updated Maciej Stachowiak’s patch which allowed support for the HTML5 hidden attribute to land (despite my earlier thoughts) and added the default CSS definitions for the <figure> and <figcaption> elements, completing support. Dai Mikurube added support for the required attribute on the select element.

Other changes include:

  • Web Inspector is now usable with the WebKit2 API on Windows.
  • Pasted text will now be checked for spelling errors in Chromium as well.
  • Layout flow for involving transforms in scrolling has been refactored.
  • The border-radius property can now be used for CSS Animations.
  • Spatial navigation is now available for map and area elements too.
  • Some progress on implementing the search function in Chrome’s Web UI.
  • Transitioning multiple shadows should now be working correctly again.
  • Support for the validation API for <object> and <keygen> elements was improved.
  • James Robinson fixed the blurred text issue on large accelerated layers!
  • Reflected unsigned attributes in IDL files will now be trimmed to [0, 2^31].
  • Chromium is on its way to switch their libjpeg implementation to libjpeg-turbo.
  • A quick patch has landed to solve the infinite redirects on pages.
  • The WebKit GTK port has landed support for the viewport meta-tag.
  • The Input Speech API will now be available by default on Chrome’s dev-channel.
  • Chrome’s dangerous download algorithm has been modified.

And that’s it again. This week has been a bit Chromium-y due to the announcements, I’ll give WebKit a bit more attention next week again! I’m on stage right at this very moment giving a talk about the Audio APIs, I’ll certainly write some more articles on that in the near future as well!

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