Facebook unveils its first browser API for chrome

Facebook and Google have now teamed up to create its first browser Application Programming Interface (API) for the Chrome browser with the intention of speeding up the user experience and making it smoother. This particular API aims to shorten the reaction time between user input and that of the browser’s reaction.

In computer, an API is a set of functions and procedures that supports the creation of applications which later access features and/or data that is part of an operating system (OS), any application or any other services. Now, Google along with Facebook’s team seems to have created an API proposal to contribute code to the browser, which is supposedly a first for the company. The code, like so much of Facebook’s work on web tools and standards, focuses on making the user experience a bit smoother and faster. In this case, that means shortening the time between a click or keystroke and the browser reacting to that.

The company said, “At Facebook, we measure events at four stages: the moment the operating system gets the input, the moment we actually start processing it, the moment we start showing changes on the screen in response to the event, and the moment we finish processing it. As we looked at our top interactions, we noticed that queueing time was causing one of the biggest delays.”

“Queuing refers to the time between when a person interacts with a page (e.g., clicks or types) and when we actually start processing the event. In extreme cases, this delay can be frustrating. Imagine clicking a notifications icon, then having to wait a full minute for the button to indicate that it registered your click. You probably wouldn’t wait for it to finish loading.”

The trial for the new API will coincide with the launch of Chrome 74. The way it usually works is a JavaScript engine will be handling how the code will be executed, but it will stop to see if there are any other inputs coming in. Because modern JavaScript engines on multi-core machines are still mostly single-threaded which can only do one thing at a time. Facebook and Google are trying to work out how to combine the work of executing the code with looking for input events.

Nate Schloss and Andrew Comminos, software engineers at Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday, “We are excited to share that the ‘Chrome 74’ release will include the origin trial for our ‘isInputPending’ API. We hope to take developer feedback from this trial and use it to make the case for fully shipping the API.” 

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