What’s the most interesting new or upcoming browser feature?

Ben Halpern on January 22, 2017

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WebAssembly. I truly believe there will come a day when every single piece of software ever written can be compiled into WebAssembly and and will run on any computer ever. And I can't wait.


That is really exciting. What are your (or anybody else's) high level thoughts about what the intermediary steps will look like? Is it just going to be a matter of swapping out some compilation targets and a few polyfills along the way or are there going to be other possible hiccups?


Right now, you can install Emscripten incoming and compile most portable C/C++ programs with CC='emcc -s WASM=1'. Eventually, Emscripten will be migrated from using an asm.js to wasm translator to using LLVM's WebAssembly backend. I don't know what's going to happen after that...


This, so much. It goes beyond just having a better compilation target. LLVM is working on a WebAssembly back-end, which besides immediately making a huge number of languages available to the browser, also brings along tons of optimizations.


Agreed. Im just hoping that it picks up quickly. Particularly I. That there will be multiple language/compiler choices


I'm personally looking out for requestIdleCallback. It's a method which allows the browser window to execute a queue of code during idle times as to not interfere with critical processes which affect the user's experience. It should be a major jank killer.

I have conditionally mixed it into some of my code already. Since it's already supported by Chrome, it's a worthwhile addition to certain parts of code, but you cannot quite architect around its presence yet.


I'm using it now for firing non-critical tasks Google Analytics events. Firefox will support requestIdleCallback in v52.


Marking HTTP (without TLS) as insecure. Hands down the best security UX move, and it wouldn't have been possible without the ISRG (a.k.a. LetsEncrypt).


I might be trivial, but it's ES6 modules for me, including the new import() method. Finally a standard way to define and load modules. Still quite a way to go, though (something like an year, an year and a half, including Node.js too).

Honorable mention for decorators.


Aside from WebAssembly, the new Fetch standard that is set to replace the atrocious XMLHttpRequest API.


Another good one is the Background API. Part of what makes the web feel grown up is that it cares for your data even if a little strand of webbing comes undone; like for example when your mobile data takes a vacay.


Partially, WebAssembly; but I'm actually afraid of it because binaries don't belong in the browser and the sheer fact that compiling is recommended tells us that we made a very big mistake in the first place.


Surprised this is the first post on Service Workers. Edge is working on it. Safari is working on thinking about it. Once it lands cross browser the the web will be one step closer to taking over native apps.


Custom elements, CSS variables, CSS grid, Fetch, progressive web app functionality.

All lovely.


Read my mind and start browsing - do not use (upload) any server side processing (with the reason to improve feature or anything...)


Container Tabs in Firefox. No other browser offers something similar.


Besides the form factor, is this that much different from the Chrome "People" menu? Perhaps I'm missing something.


Complete rewrite of the engines to work with modern hardware (Mozilla Servo).

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