Chrome 36 beta arrives with revamped app launcher for Linux, new APIs for apps and extensions

Chrome 36 beta arrives with revamped app launcher for Linux, new APIs for apps and extensions

Two days after releasing the stable version of Chrome 35, Google has announced the release of Chrome 36 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Much like Chrome 35 beta, the new features have a developer focus, especially for those building Web content and apps for mobile devices.

That being said, Google does say this release has a revamped Chrome app launcher for Linux (smaller font size and smarter positioning). As for developers, the highlights are the additions of element.animate(), HTML Imports, Object.observe(), as well as an improved throttled async touchmove model (a full list of changes can be seen in the SVN log).

The element.animate() function is the first part of the Web Animations JavaScript API to ship in Chrome. It lets developers create simple CSS Animations using JavaScript. In other words, animations can be dynamically generated without paying a CSS style recalculation cost, are cancelable, and provide guaranteed end events (CSS Transitions meanwhile only generate events if they cause a style change).

Next up, HTML Imports, part of Web Components, offer a way to include HTML documents in other HTML documents using a link import tag. An HTML Import can contain CSS, JavaScript, HTML, or anything else an .html file can include, providing a convention for bundling Web content files into a single package.

Lastly, Object.observe() lets developers observe changes to JavaScript objects. Defining a callback will allow observing multiple objects and receiving all changes to any objects in a single asynchronous call.

Google also shared a few more updates specific to Chrome 36 beta:

  • Chrome no longer sends touchcancel on touch scroll, improving compatibility with other browsers and making it possible to add touch UI effects like pull-to-refresh without re-implementing scrolling and fling physics in JavaScript.
  • Some CSS properties such as scrollTop and offsetHeight will now return fractional values in browser-zoom situations.
  • The new WOFF 2.0 Web Font compression format offers a 30 percent average gain over WOFF 1.0 (up to 50 percent in some cases).
  • DevTools now faithfully emulates touch with mouse, allowing you to test touch interactions on Chrome for Android using the mobile emulation feature of DevTools.
  • Unprefixed CSS Transforms enables rich web content by allowing elements to be transformed in two-dimensional or three-dimensional space.

Chrome 36 is set to launch in June. We’ll let you know when it’s available for everyone.

Top Image Credit: T. Al Nakib

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