Recap: What Google announced at the 2018 Chrome Dev Summit
Google has had a very busy couple of weeks. One of the big events that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the consumer space is the Chrome Dev Summit. Google held this even earlier this week and announced a slew of updates and features. The web is a big part of Google’s focus right now, and Chrome is the tool that people use to access it. In this post, we will recap Google’s biggest announcements from the Chrome Dev Summit.
First visit load times
It’s important for the user experience that a page is interactive while it loads. People don’t want a janky experience while a page finishes loading the last bits. They want to be able to scroll, click, and move immediately. Google has been evolving Chrome to off-load as much work as possible to make this happen. Squoosh is an application that can compress images almost instantly.
Expanded PWA Support
Progressive Web Apps are really exciting and they have been a big deal primarily on mobile devices. PWA make web pages act and look more like traditional apps, which is great when you don’t want to install yet another app. Google is expanding the PWA support to more desktop platforms, including Chrome OS, Windows, Linux, and Max in Chrome 72.
web.dev is a new portal for hands-on guidance for web developers. Google’s web platform team has spent over a decade learning about user needs. web.dev makes it easy as possible for developers to master the defining standards of web development. This is the place to go for all the updated techniques to keep your site performing well. You can also monitor your sites over time to make sure they stay fast and accessible.
Project Visbug is a Chrome extension for easy point-and-click web design. This tool is for users who may not want to tinker with the source code of a website. Instead, they can move around elements by simply clicking and dragging. You may remember an old Firefox extension called Firebug, which is a similar concept. Simply install the extension, press ALT+SHIFT+D, and start moving things around.
Web Packaging and Portals
Web packaging is a tool for improving AMP URLs. It gives the browser a proof of origin for the rendered resources. As long as the web package is properly signed, the original URL is shown to the user. This enables pre-loading pages with still preserving privacy and makes edge caching much easier. You can see this in action right now in the Google Search dev preview.
Portals completely change the way we interact with multi-page websites. It transforms the site into a single page that looks more like an application. You can see how the website below looks more like a Twitter feed, but tapping one of the entries opens the page. This feature is still in early development.
Smooth UX & Developer Experience
One of the byproducts of a smooth user experience is a bad experience for the developers who implement it. Google believes it’s possible to have a good experience for both. Houdini APIs, such as the CSS Paint API, Animation, and Layout Worklets, give developers tons of control for building new and modern interfaces. Google is also working on creating a “well-lit path” for developers to follow and helping them catch common mistakes.
Feedback & Funds
Google is making feedback from framework teams a standard part of the Chrome Intent to Implement process. To show just how much they are dedicated to the collaboration with framework teams, Google is launching a $200,000 fund to support the development of performance-related features in 3rd-party frameworks. Developers can visit this link to sign up for the fund. Google will share performance goals and they will support work through direct funding. Performance is critical and Google wants to show they mean business.
The full rundown from Day 1 and Day 2 of the Chrome Dev Summit can be found below. If you’re a web developer, this is one of the most important events of the year. Make sure you’re up to date on all the latest Chrome goodies.