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Chrome Dev Summit 2018 Day 2: Ready for the next movement

Nov 13th, 2018

Chrome Dev Summit day 1 is all wrapped up and we hope you enjoyed discussing what developers can do to build high-quality web experiences today. Now, in day 2 we will give you a preview of the new technologies the Chrome team will be working on over the next year.

Modern navigation on the web

Today, moving from page to page on the web feels like a long, slow transition – users have to stare at a white screen as their site loads and if they’re on a bad network, they’re disappointed when they see…nothing.

We want to enable developers to deliver a zero-friction, seamless experience to their users on the web and we’re excited to share two new specifications that we’ve been working on – Web Packaging and Portals.

One way to make loading fast is to get content as close to the user as possible, such as in edge caches. But the rise in HTTPS had the side effect of making this harder to achieve. And while AMP enables us to have privacy preserving pre-rendering of content with lightning fast load times, it came with the nagging issue of the browser not showing the publisher’s URL. Building on the AMP model, we introduced Web Packaging that gives the browser a proof of origin for the resources that it renders. This is achieved through Signed Exchanges, a subset of the full Web Packaging proposal.

So as long as the package is properly signed with a key that corresponds to the domain, it is presented to the user as having come from that domain. This enables privacy-preserving preloading and makes edge caching much easier catches because now your content can be distributed to multiple caches without the need for an explicit DNS relationship with that cache. And we’re excited to see that Signed Exchanges are already available for origin trial. One of the first places you can see this in action is with the Google Search developer preview for signed exchange AMP content.

While instant loading is great, Portals take away the entire perception of navigation between pages by enabling multi-page sites to act like single-page applications through the same level of fluid transitions. It’s best when seen in action:

It’s still early in the development of the spec and we’d love your feedback on how we can make them more relevant for your use case.

Smooth user experience without losing developer experience

Having buttery smooth interactions is important, and as Mariko said yesterday, you can never add enough butter. However, this level of UX often comes with a bitter trade-off, one that none of us like – bad developer experience. But we believe that it IS possible to break this deadlock and that is where we’ll be spending a lot of our time in the coming year.

The Houdini APIs, such as the CSS Paint API, Animation and Layout Worklets give developers an unprecedented level of control to build new and modern interfaces.

And to give developers a well-lit path and ensure that they don’t regress from their performance goals as they build in incremental features, we’re working to build Feature Policy that catch common mistakes and give developers a signal during staging and more importantly in production. For more on this, tune in to Jason’s talk later today.

Performance at scale

Focusing on performance is critical today. Frameworks play a very important role in achieving lasting improvements at scale. We’ve already seen some great work done by various frameworks over this past year, and we want to collaborate and support their efforts in 2019.

So we’re excited to announce that starting today, we’ll be taking feedback from framework teams a standard part of the Chrome Intent to Implement process. We want to use this process to include the voice of frameworks within the features that we prioritize.

Secondly, to really strengthen this collaboration, we’re launching a fund with an initial amount of $200,000 to support the development of performance-related features in third-party frameworks. We’ll share performance goals that we’d love to see “on by default” in frameworks. We’re excited to see what the developer community will come up with given their experience working with frameworks and the wider ecosystem. And based on the potential impact of the proposal, we’ll support your work through direct funding.

We’ll have more to share on this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, developers can go to this link to register interest. Applicants can start an RFC on the GitHub repo of the project they intend to modify and would be considered only if the project’s core maintainers sign-off on the feature.

Meanwhile, stay tuned on the livestream to watch the rest of the sessions of day two of Chrome Dev Summit 2018!

Posted by Malte Ubl and Nicole Sullivan