Project Fugu

Something Something Chromium

When developing a state-of-the-art web application, better known as PWA (progressive web app), the line between native, that is apps developed for a specific OS, and web apps first started to blur. Building a PWA means your website can work even offline, thanks to the Service Worker. Also available are Web Workers, which enable a true multithreaded application. PWAs can be installed on your OS and launched directly from the Taskbar on Windows, the Dock on macOS or your launcher on mobile devices.

Yet with all these great capabilities, it gets even more visible what features are not yet accessible for the web: a real filesystem-access, usage of NFC or biometric authentication, just to name a few.

That’s exactly what seemed to have bothered the Google-team working on the Chromium project. And so they kicked-off project “Fugu”, the lethally poisonous fish. Nice!

Fasten your seatbelts

At project Fugu’s progress tracker, you can see that already some really great stuff has been implemented. Your PWA can now check if the user has currently installed the native version of your application, if there exists one and if the PWA got installed locally. Another nice thing is the Wake Lock API, which enables you to keep the screen from locking. And one really great feature is a new API to access shape detection, i.e. to recognize barcodes and faces directly from JS - no more extra library required.

How to access

As outlined here, the features are all behind a flag you have to set in Chrome to access them. You can keep track of the current state when visiting the links listed below. I highly recommend keeping an eye on project Fugu, as this is the real future of web development for frontend. JS is already highly performant when compiled to machine code in the latest JS-engines, such as V8, in contrast to what some people might think. What’s really left is a powerful and mighty set of APIs to leverage what is possible in a browser. By all means, it’s not a technical hurdle that keeps the web from innovating even faster.

- Tom