Today’s Chrome Beta channel release kicks off the new year with a slew of new features for developers ranging from Custom Elements, to web speech synthesis and improved WebFont downloading. Unless otherwise noted, changes apply to desktop versions of Chrome and Chrome for Android.

Custom Elements

With Custom Elements, web developers can define new types of HTML elements to use in their web applications. The spec is one of several new API primitives landing under the Web Components umbrella. It brings abstraction and modularity to the web platform by allowing developers to:
  1. Define new HTML/DOM elements
  2. Create elements that extend from other elements
  3. Logically bundle together custom functionality into a single tag
  4. Extend the API of existing DOM elements
Custom Elements allows developers to architect their apps in much cleaner ways. For example, here's what the markup for a demo chat app written with Custom Elements looks like:

Web Speech API - Synthesis

The Web Speech API enables web developers to add speech recognition and synthesis to their web pages. We added the recognition part last year, and today’s release is the first to include speech synthesis. For example, your dictations could be synthesized to play back in a different language.

NPAPI deprecation update

As described in the original NPAPI deprecation announcement, Chrome has begun blocking webpage-instantiated NPAPI plug-ins by default on the Stable channel. Mac and Windows NPAPI support will be completely phased out by the end of the year, and on Linux Chromium will no longer support NPAPI plug-ins starting as early as April.

Other web platform changes in this release
  • The requestAutocomplete API for easy web payments is now available on Mac.
  • The Page Visibility API has been unprefixed.
  • WebFont downloading has been optimized so that fonts (at the median) are available before Blink layout is done, meaning that the net latency impact of using a webfont is usually zero.
  • The Blink CSS Animations and Transitions implementations are now powered by the new Web Animations model. This change should not affect developers or sites; let us know if it does.
  • Chrome now supports the latest version of the Web Notification API. We'll be deprecating support for the legacy API down the road, so please update your websites if they're using it.
  • Google Chrome Frame has been retired.  Please read our June 2013 Chromium blog post for additional details and background.
Visit for a complete overview of Chrome’s developer features.

Chrome Dev Summit recap

In late November we also held the Chrome Dev Summit, a two-day, single-track conference with over 300 web developers and Chrome engineers. The talks—which were recorded and livestreamed—covered a range of topics including Polymer, new media APIs in Chrome for Android, Mobile DevTools, and a ton of performance tips. Check out the full list of recorded talks, including the keynote and Q&A panel.

Circle +Google Chrome Developers for more updates!

Posted by <software-engineer title="Element Customizer">Dominic Cooney</software-engineer>