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What's New in Chrome 28

By Craig Buckler

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Who needs a six-week old Chrome 27? Chrome 28 has arrived and is ready to download. Click the tool icon followed by About Google Chrome or head to google.com/chrome. Let’s see what’s been added to the world’s most-used browser

Goodbye Webkit, Hello Blink

Chrome 28 is the first edition to use Google’s new Blink rendering engine. Enter chrome://version/ in the address bar and you’ll see Blink version 537.36. It was beaten off the starting blocks by Opera 15 but what’s a week between browser friends?

Blink is a fork of the Webkit engine and you’re unlikely to spot any major differences. The -webkit- prefix is still required for many CSS3 and JavaScript properties, rendering is identical and I’m yet to discover new Web Inspector features. Even the user agent remains much the same (not that user agent strings have a practical use)…

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko)
Chrome/28.0.1500.71 Safari/537.36

You may receive a small speed boost thanks to the new threaded HTML parser and pipelined page loading, but I doubt it’ll be noticeable in real-world use.

@supports Support

The @supports rule allows you to test for browser feature support in CSS3, e.g.

@supports (text-shadow: 0 0 5px #000) {
	.blur-text {
		color: transparent;
		text-shadow: 0 0 5px #000;
	}
}

The rule is available in Firefox, Opera 12 and Opera 15 so it’s finally becoming a practical option for web developers.

Rich Notifications

rich notificationsPerhaps the most important new feature is rich notifications for Chrome apps and extensions. The alert windows can display formatted text, images and actions buttons directly inside the pop-up — refer to the API documentation and sample application for more information.

The feature is currently available on Windows with Mac and Linux support coming soon. Whether it’ll be used for anything beyond Gmail is another matter. It’d be great for an RSS Reader, though, Google!

HTML5 Fullscreen API on Android

You can now enable a browser Fullscreen API on your mobile version of Chrome. That possibly makes more sense than a desktop browser and will be a bonus for HTML5 game developers.

Other than 16 fixed security issues, that’s it for Chrome 28. Nothing particularly exciting for web developers, but it’ll be interesting to see how Blink evolves during the next few months.

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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