chrome

Control the Internet With Chrome Extensions!

As a web UI developer and designer, there are countless things to learn and only so many hours in the day. There are topics I’ve purposefully avoided, like mobile and offline application development because, at some point, you have to draw a line somewhere in the millions of shiny new topics and get some work done. One of the areas I’ve avoided in the past is browser extension development. I didn’t understand how they worked, what the development environment was, or how permissions interacted with overriding pages because, frankly, I didn’t think I was interested.

Then one day, my very talented designer/developer friend Natalie Schoch asked me to get her Chrome Extension across the finish line. (more…)

New mobile Chrome feature would disable scripts on slow connections

This is a possible upcoming feature for mobile Chrome:

If a Data Saver user is on a 2G-speed or slower network according to the NetInfo API, Chrome disables scripts and sends an intervention header on every resource request. Users are shown a UI at the bottom of the screen indicating the page has been modified to save data. Users can enable scripts on the page by tapping “Show original” in the UI.

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The Ecological Impact of Browser Diversity

Early in my career when I worked at agencies and later at Microsoft on Edge, I heard the same lament over and over: "Argh, why doesn’t Edge just run on Blink? Then I would have access to ALL THE APIs I want to use and would only have to test in one browser!"

Let me be clear: an Internet that runs only on Chrome’s engine, Blink, and its offspring, is not the paradise we like to imagine it to be.

As a Google Developer Expert who has worked on Microsoft Edge, with Firefox, and with the W3C as an Invited Expert, I have some opinions (and a number of facts) to drop on this topic. Let’s get to it.

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A Native Lazy Load for the Web

A new Chrome feature dubbed "Blink LazyLoad" is designed to dramatically improve performance by deferring the load of below-the-fold images and third-party <iframe></iframe>s.

The goals of this bold experiment are to improve the overall render speed of content that appears within a user’s viewport (also known as above-the-fold), as well as, reduce network data and memory usage. ✨

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Chrome 69

Chrome 69 is notable for us CSS developers:

  • Conic gradients (i.e. background: conic-gradient(red, green, blue);): We've got lots of interesting articles about conic gradients here, and here's some use cases and a polyfill from Lea Verou.
  • Logical box model properties: margin, padding, and border all get an upgrade for more use cases. Think of how we have margin-left now — the "left" part doesn't make much sense when we switch directions. Now, we'll have margin-inline-start for that. The full list is margin-{block,inline}-{start,end}, padding-{block,inline}-{start,end} and border-{block,inline}-{start,end}-{width,style,color}. Here's Rachel Andrew with Understanding Logical Properties And Values.
  • Scroll snap points (i.e. scroll-snap-type: x mandatory;): What once required JavaScript intervention is now happily in CSS. We've been covering this for years. Goes a long way in making carousels way less complicated.
  • Environment variables (i.e. env(safe-area-inset-top);): Apple introduced "the notch" with the iPhone X and dropped some proprietary CSS for dealing with it. The community quickly stepped in and now we have env() for browsers to ship stuff like this.

I guess we can give this version number a well-deserved nice.

Better rendering for variable fonts

I was messing around with a variable font the other day and noticed this weird rendering issue in the latest version of Chrome where certain parts of letterforms were clipping into each other in a really weird way. Thankfully, though, Stephen Nixon has come to the rescue with a temporary hack to fix the issue which using a text-shadow on the text that’s using the variable font:

.variable-font {
  text-shadow: 0 0 0 #000; /* text color goes last here */
} 

Once you do that, you shouldn’t be able to see those weird clip marks in the letterforms anymore. Yeah, it feels pretty hacky but I’m sure this rendering bug will be fixed relatively soon. It doesn’t look like it affects other browsers, as far as I can tell.

Chrome is Not the Standard

Chris Krycho has written an excellent post about how us fickle web developers might sometimes confuse features that land in one browser as being “the future of the web.” However, Chris argues that there’s more than one browser’s vision of the web that we should care about:

No single company gets to dominate the others in terms of setting the agenda for the web. Not Firefox, with its development and advocacy of WebAssembly, dear to my heart though that is. Not Microsoft and the IE/Edge team, with its proposal of the CSS grid spec in 2011, sad though I am that it languished for as long as it did. Not Apple, with its pitch for concurrent JavaScript. And not—however good its developer relations team is—Chrome, with any of the many ideas it’s constantly trying out, including PWAs.

It’s also worth recognizing how these decisions aren’t, in almost any case, unalloyed pushes for “the future of the web.” They reflect business priorities, just like any other technical prioritization.

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xvg

Varun Vachhar:

A Chrome extension for debugging SVG paths by converting them to outlines and displaying anchors, control points, handles and arc ellipses.

An amazing contribution to this open source project would be to make all those points draggable, and then be able to spit out the newly adjusted code.

Also, weren't browser extensions on their way to being interoperable? Looks like the community group has significant work done.

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