The Google+ musings of

François Beaufort

Happiness Evangelist
September 17, 2014 3 comments 5 shares 46 plus ones
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The chrome.automation¹ API that allows developers to access the automation (accessibility) tree for the browser is now available on Dev Channel

The tree resembles the DOM tree, but only exposes the semantic structure of a page. It can be used to programmatically interact with a page by examining names, roles, and states, listening for events, and performing actions on nodes. 

It is obviously very useful for extensions like ChromeVox², the screen reader for Chrome, but could also be used for tests automation and developer tools as suggested in the API proposal³ document.

¹ https://developer.chrome.com/extensions/automation
² http://www.chromevox.com/
³ https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vW_tgDfPWqHtV_sgnoe-JAvE3iSuo5rd2CNzb-Z9ZdU/edit#

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/561933002

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September 17, 2014 2 comments 13 shares 59 plus ones
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The chromium team is currently experimenting with a brand new way for site owners to diagnose site or network problems more easily. The idea is that the browser will upload error reports periodically to site owners that requested it for certain resources they own.

While the chromium team is still working out the standard, the initial version of the Domain Reliability Monitoring¹ implementation is going to be hard-coded for some Google sites to spot practical issues sooner, before hopefully becoming part of the Navigation Error Logging² API.

In the mean time, if you want to be part of the experiment, you simply have to run the last chromium build with the --enable-domain-reliability switch³ and go to the chrome://domain-reliability-internals page to see all websites that are pre-configured to receive error reports when they fail to load.

¹ https://docs.google.com/document/d/14U0YA4dlzNYciq2ke0StEMjomdBUN6ocSt1kN03HJ0s/edit
² https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/webperf/raw-file/tip/specs/NavigationErrorLogging/Overview.html
³ http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/run-chromium-with-flags

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/571973002

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September 15, 2014 1 comments 6 shares 64 plus ones
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The chromium team just added a new way to get the full USB device's configuration descriptor in the last chromium build.

Whereas before only the USB device interfaces were accessible in the chrome.usb API, we now have access to the full data such as if the device is self powered, supports remote wake up, the maximum power needed and an extra field which contains all of the miscellaneous descriptors associated with a configuration,
interface or endpoint.

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/558373002

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September 15, 2014 15 comments 8 shares 112 plus ones
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I'm always amazed when I stumble upon something like this: A simple one line change made Windows Chrome's updater 5x faster in the last chromium build.

As you may know, the Chromium team built a powerful and custom compression algorithm called Courgette¹ to make browser updates small². Sadly, it was reported that Chrome's updates were taking too long while using fully one core, especially on lower end machines.
Luckily for us, the chromium team fixed this in an unexpected way! Have a look at the patch³ to see how simply making reserve() over-reserve the memory by 1% more makes Courgette 5x faster.

And yes, Courgette stands for Zucchini in French ;)

¹ http://blog.chromium.org/2009/07/smaller-is-faster-and-safer-too.html
² http://www.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/software-updates-courgette
³ https://codereview.chromium.org/565753002/diff/40001/courgette/memory_allocator.h

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/565753002

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September 12, 2014 41 comments 145 shares 451 plus ones
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We can now cast our favorite movies stored in Google Drive directly from the Video Player App to a ChromeCast¹ in the last Dev Update of Chrome OS.

Go give it a try! Open the Files App, select the Drive section, play a movie and notice the new ChromeCast icon in the Video Player App player. If you don't see it, that means you may not have installed or enabled the Google Cast Extension².

And if you encounter any issue, the chromium team will thank you for reporting it at http://crbug.com/new.

¹ http://chromecast.com
² https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-cast/boadgeojelhgndaghljhdicfkmllpafd

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/496493003/

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September 11, 2014 54 comments 64 shares 420 plus ones
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Duolingo¹ - a fun and free way to learn a new language before your next trip
Evernote² - write, collect and find what matters to you, with a full-size keyboard and touchscreen
Sight Words³ - a delightful way for you to help improve your child's reading skills
Vine⁴ - create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way 

And the best thing is that some parts of the App Runtime for Chrome (aka ARC) are being open-sourced. Checkout https://chromium.googlesource.com/arc/arc for more information about how to get started with ARC Open Source on Linux.

In the meantime, please go to http://www.chromebook.com/newapps to tell which of your favorite Android apps you’d like to see on your Chromebook.


¹ https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ebnhfamfopiobpaehmebmfjcgkaogihe
² http://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dhfolfjkgpeaojbiicgheljefkfbbfkc
³ https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/inpoiemibmljfjmjmlokfdllnkjejhai
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/plfjlfohfjjpmmifkbcmalnmcebkklkh

Source: http://chrome.blogspot.fr/2014/09/first-set-of-android-apps-coming-to.html

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September 11, 2014 10 comments 5 shares 73 plus ones
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Did you know you could easily slow down some window animations by simply pressing the <Shift> key when you maximize/minimize windows?

Source: https://chromiumcodereview.appspot.com/12465005

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September 09, 2014 0 comments 1 shares 46 plus ones
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And as usual here are some Chromium related URLs you don't want to have missed recently:

- Notes on Android-specific aspects of Chrome process management
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zQuI6qDX9eOmI2ki_SFRz_Z0sAASxYKwJPJrrNOt10M/edit

- Why Google is Hurrying the Web to Kill SHA-1
https://konklone.com/post/why-google-is-hurrying-the-web-to-kill-sha-1

- Dang, this browser used to be great, but it just sucks now.
https://plus.google.com/+PeterKasting/posts/fNU31MWqYrX

- Responsive Web Design with DevTools' Device Mode
http://blog.chromium.org/2014/09/responsive-web-design-with-devtools.html

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September 09, 2014 17 comments 38 shares 259 plus ones
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What a great news! We can now install free Chrome Apps without being signed in the Chrome Web Store.

What this means also for Chrome App developers is that they need to be careful and don't assume user is necessarily logged in. 

This doesn't apply to paid Chrome Apps.

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/482293003

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September 09, 2014 3 comments 7 shares 78 plus ones
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Last chromium build lets Chrome App Windows be visible on all Workspaces simultaneously for platforms that support multiple Workspaces such as Mac OS and Linux.

And as usual, it is as simple as calling something like chrome.app.window.create('index.html', { visibleOnAllWorkspaces: true }) in Dev Channel for now.

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/469993003

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