I am so excited! Tomorrow is the 6th Chrome Dev Summit and it’s all coming together. Join us at the 6th Chrome Dev Summit to engage with Chrome engineers and leading web developers for a two-day exploration of modern web experiences. We’ll be diving deep into what it means to build a fast, high quality web experience using modern web technologies and best practices, as well as looking at the new and exciting capabilities coming to the web platform.
I was in China a couple of weeks ago for the Google Developer Day and I was showing everyone my QRCode scanner, it was working great until I went offline. When the user was offline (or partially connected) the camera wouldn’t start, which meant that you couldn’t snap QR codes. It took me an age to work out what was happening, and it turns out I was mistakenly starting the camera in my onload event and the Google Analytics request would hang and not resolve in a timely manner.
At the weekend I was playing around with a Boomerang effect video encoder, you can kinda get it working in near real-time (I’ll explain later). I got it working on Chrome on Desktop, but it would never work properly on Chrome on Android. See the code here. It looks like when you use captureStream() on a <canvas> that has a relatively large resolution (1280x720 in my case) the MediaRecorder API won’t be able to encode the videos and it won’t error and you can’t detect that it can’t encode the video ahead of time.
A nice post about PWA from Mike Elgan. I am not sure about Microsoft’s goal with PWA, but I think our’s is pretty simple: we want users to have access to content and functionality instantly and in a way they expect to be able to interact with it on their devices. The web should reach everyone across every connected device and a user should be able to access in their preferred modality, as an app if that’s how they expect it (mobile, maybe), or voice on an assistant etc.
The first issue I have found trying to build a video editor on the web. I have multiple video streams (desktop and web cam) and I wanted to be able to toggle between the video streams on one video element so that I can quickly switch between the web cam and the desktop and not break the MediaRecorder. It looks like you should be able to do it via toggling the selected property on the videoTracks object on the <video> element, but you can’t, the array of tracks contains only 1 element (the first video track on the MediaStream).
I’m a big fan of QRCodes, they are very simple and neat way to exchange data between the real world and the digital world. For a few years now I’ve had a little side project called QRSnapper — well it’s had a few names, but this is the one I’ve settled on — that uses the getUserMedia API to take live data from the user’s camera so that it can scan for QR Codes in near real time.
I love FFMPEG.js, it’s a neat tool that is compiled with asm.js`and it let’s me build JS web apps that can quickly edit videos. FFMPEG.js also works with web workers so that you can encode videos without blocking the main thread. I also love Comlink. Comlink let’s me easily interact with web workers by exposing functions and classes without having to deal with a complex postMessage state machine. I recently got to combine the two together.
I recently returned from a trip to India to attend the Google4India event (report soon) and to meet with a lot of businesses and developers. One of the most interesting changes discussed was the push for more content in the language of the users in the country, and it was particularly apparent across all of Google’s products which ranged from making it easier to search in the users language, to find content, and also to read it back to users in either text or voice form.
Remember when Web Apps were a recommended way to use apps on the iPhone? What are web apps? Learn what they are and how to use them. Read full post. In about 2013 Apple started to redirect the /webapps/ top-level directory to /iphone/ The thing is, the directory was actually pretty good, a lot of the apps in there still work today. However looking at the AppStore it solved a lot more problems that developers had: Better discovery and search specifically because the AppStore was directly on the device.
We use Google Chat internally a lot to communicate across our team - it’s kinda like our slack; We also create a lot of content that is accessible via RSS feeds, we even have a team feed that you can all view. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that it was pretty easy to create a simple post-only bot via WebHooks and that gave me the idea, I can create a simple service that polls RSS feeds and then sends them to our webhook that can post directly in to our team chat.
Ruth John moved to Chrome OS (temporarily): The first thing, and possibly the thing with the least amount of up to date information out there, was enabling Crostini. This runs Linux in a container on the Chromebook, something you pretty much want straight away after spending 15 minutes on it. I have the most recent Pixel, the 256GB version. Here’s what you do. Go to settings. Click on the hamburger menu (top left) - right at the bottom it says ‘About Chrome OS’ Open this and there’s an option to put your machine into dev mode It’ll restart and you’ll be in dev mode - this is much like running Canary over Chrome and possibly turning on a couple of flags.
Mustafa writes: Tooling is complicated, we are a tooling focused industry, and they change so much. I have used maybe rough eight different tools, from Photoshop to Sketch. That’s before we add prototyping tools to the mix. This may be something we just have to accept. After all, type standards only really started to settle in the 90s, and typography is a 500-year-old discipline. Designers are still finding it difficult to prove the importance of the process.
Philip Walton has an awesome deep dive into a new API the Chrome team has been working on to give you (the developer) control over how to respond when the browser unloads your tabs. Application lifecycle is a key way that modern operating systems manage resources. On Android, iOS, and recent Windows versions, apps can be started and stopped at any time by the OS. This allows these platforms to streamline and reallocate resources where they best benefit the user.
Pete LePage writes about important changes to Add to Homescreen in Chrome Add to Home Screen changes If your site meets the add to home screen criteria, Chrome will no longer show the add to home screen banner. Instead, you’re in control over when and how to prompt the user. To prompt the user, listen for the beforeinstallprompt event, then, save the event and add a button or other UI element to your app to indicate it can be installed.
A great overview of Pinterest’s PWA The verdict Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for: the numbers. Weekly active users on mobile web have increased 103 percent year-over-year overall, with a 156 percent increase in Brazil and 312 percent increase in India. On the engagement side, session length increased by 296 percent, the number of Pins seen increased by 401 percent and people were 295 percent more likely to save a Pin to a board.
Sam Thorogood from our team writes: You’ve designed a webapp, built its code and service worker, and finally added the Web App Manifest to describe how it should behave when ‘installed’ on a user’s device. This includes things like high-resolution icons to use for e.g. a mobile phone’s launcher or app switcher, or how your webapp should start when opened from the user’s home screen. And while many browsers will respect the Web App Manifest, not every browser will load or respect every value you specify.