by Charles Ying

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Google’s fork of WebKit – Blink

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Google’s official announcement, and developer FAQ.

For sensible commentary about the core mission of Blink and the history leading up to the fork, there’s Alex Russell’s post from Google’s perspective, and Maciej Stachowiak’s comments from Apple’s perspective.

For more detail, there’s the threads between Google (Adam Barth and co.) and Apple (Darin Adler and co.) folks on the WebKit dev mailing lists.

There’s a lot of interesting goals for Blink which I’m excited to see: implementing the DOM in JavaScript; snapshotting in V8; incremental and parallel layout; and multi-process improvements.

I’m also excited to see what Apple is working on, but we’ll need to be patient there as Apple’s style is “show, don’t tell”.

Maciej says it best: “I do not consider Blink to be a hostile fork. I wish the Blink developers good luck & godspeed.”

The PlayStation Web App

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This is the new PlayStation Video Unlimited service. This PlayStation app runs at a full 60 frames per second (when you see it on a PS3), has tons of 3D graphics effects, full-speed 1080p video playback, and a fluid, hardware accelerated, animated user experience. What you may not know is that this is a web app.

A Web App? On A PlayStation?

The Video Unlimited service is a JavaScript application with a carefully designed runtime platform and very lightweight APIs to access hardware accelerated 3D graphics and shader effects, video playback engine, and other aspects of the PS3 hardware.

Two years ago, I helped start this project at Sony. In six weeks, our team took a working Flash UI prototype and recreated it on a PS3, complete with an early version of the platform, now internally called Trilithium. Alex Bustin, the same UI developer who built the original UI prototype, also wrote the Trilithium port.

The release of Video Unlimited was delayed until now, but Trilithium was used to build another of Sony’s partner’s apps, Hulu Plus for PS3. (See video at the end of this post).

The Trilithium Platform

Trilithium’s strength comes from taking full advantage of the PS3 hardware and existing well-optimized frameworks to do everything from graphics to video playback, leaving the decisions about the high level application to a very flexible JavaScript core API.

We built Trilithium for several reasons:

  • Make good use of the complex 8-core + GPU PS3 hardware without killing ourselves.
  • Give this power to our UX developers and designers.
  • Let partners easily build their own PS3 apps with little knowledge of PS3 architecture.
  • Rapidly develop with a flexible environment.

True, there’s no hyperlinking and Trilithium isn’t open (for now).

But Video Unlimited, Hulu Plus, and future Trilithium apps do show what’s possible when you bring the best parts of web and native technology together.

Hulu Plus for PS3

Google Chrome Frame

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Google Chrome Frame is huge.

Revisiting my post on Google Chrome Lite from February:

In 2009, Google should embed Google Chrome into Google Toolbar, which has a HUGE install base. This would be a huge driver to accelerate Google’s web platform, convert more folks over to a modern browser experience. Imagine a Chrome “Lite” running inside Toolbar inside IE, billed as a “web accelerator”.

(Insert humorous smug remark here. Okay, it’s out of my system.)

This is the right strategy for Google to use against Microsoft in the browser wars. Google’s 2009 playbook probably looks similar to this:

  1. Let Google Chrome Frame mature in open source into a completely awesome (and hopefully secure) web plugin. Web developers get excited and really start using HTML5 instead of talking about it. Security issues are vetted and addressed.
  2. Bundle Chrome Frame 1.0 into Google Toolbar (hell, Google everything), with huge established (and unpublicized to date) distribution.
  3. Launch both as part of a multi-prong “death by a thousand cuts” attack (Chrome standalone, OEM, Chrome OS, Chrome Mobile, YouTube HTML5 video, etc.) on Internet Explorer.
  4. ???
  5. Profit!

What should Microsoft do? Get busy. Find a differentiator (graphics, JavaScript, sync, hardware port, XBOX, etc.), stop looking at WebKit and start shipping it already.

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