Friday, June 14, 2013

No more Google+ comments

I tried out the new Blogger Google+ comments for a while, but after experiencing some weird behavior (like comments not displaying on mobile) and hearing from a couple of people that avoided leaving comments because they didn't want a Google+ account I've decided to turn them off. This may cause a couple of comments to disappear, and I apologize for the inconvenience, but I'd rather have a reliable commenting system.

A Tale of two Web Technologies

Let's play a quick game: I'm going to describe a relatively recently announced web technology, and I want you to guess what it is.
  • It was developed by a generally well respected company that focuses on moving the web forward.
  • It was started to enable the web to move beyond the inherent limitations of javascript.
  • It allows developers to run applications programmed in a language other than javascript.
  • The company behind it encouraged others to join in its development, and has actively been improving it themselves.
  • It was designed so that when run in a specialized VM it could run much faster than an equivalent Javascript app.
  • To preserve backwards compatibility, however, the code is cross-compiled into standard javascript, allowing it to run on most modern browsers.
So if I stop there, what's your guess? If you've been keeping up with these things I bet you're probably thinking asm.js, which is a good guess because it meets all the criteria up above. Let me add one more hint, though:
  • When announced this technology was regarded with skepticism and vocal opposition.
Ah, that makes a difference. What's your guess now?

"What is Dart, Alex?"

Bingo! We have a winner!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WebGL Draft Extensions in Chrome

I mentioned this was coming in my last post, but it's a significant enough change that it's worth addressing on it's own. New Chrome builds, starting with today's Canary build, will begin including a new option in about:flags called "Enable WebGL draft extensions"

(This can also be activated via the command line with the --enable-webgl-draft-extensions flag)

When you enable this it will allow WebGL to access extensions that Chrome has implemented but are still in draft status on the WebGL Extension Registry. Previously these extensions would have been exposed without the flag, but with a "WEBKIT_" prefix. That goes against Blink's policy of avoiding vendor prefixes wherever possible, however, hence the new flag.

The only extension this flag exposes currently is the newly implemented EXT_frag_depth, and any extensions that you previously queried using a prefix will continue to work just fine. 

So what does this mean for you, daring WebGL developers?