Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chrome Browser Does Away With Windows Technology

Search mogul Google has already announced plans to ditch the Windows technology used in Chrome browser, which mainly displays fonts on web pages. They revealed this while discussing some of the new changes in version 37 of Chrome, which reached the Beta build channel at the time. The preview, according to them, uses the DirectWrite technology from Microsoft instead of the old format.

The DirectWrite technology API was first introduced with Windows 7, the penultimate operating system that released in 2009. Microsoft then back-ported DirectWrite to Windows Vista SP2, concurrently with a platform update for Vista. But what posed a problem is that Windows XP – which comprises a fourth of the operating systems run on computers around the world – did not support DirectWrite.

Before switching over to DirectWrite, Google’s Chrome browser employed the Graphics Device Interface (GDI) from Microsoft, which has been a central part of Windows ever since in came out in 1985. The company had been working on it at least two years prior to that. The previous edition of Chrome, version 36, still uses the GDI to render text on web pages.

The reason of the great lag between the appearance of DirectWrite and its implementation in Chrome was that the latter required intensive relining and streamlining of the browser’s font renderer. Most of the problems came from the sandboxing, which is meant to run untested programs with a controlled set of resources. Doing this to the rendering engine stretched the process out until February this year, when the company announced they had finally integrated DirectWrite into Chrome.

This technology was one of the main factors in Microsoft’s refusal to add the popular Windows XP operating system to the roster of those with Windows support for IE 9. Incidentally, the tech giant was the first browser manufacturer to ditch support for Windows XP.

DirectWrite is a technology that is used by the ClearType Text Tuner applet inside the control panel in Windows 7, and by the XPS viewer application. It supports fonts that conform to OpenType specification version 1.5, which includes fonts with TrueType and CFF outlines. So if the extension of a font is TTF, OTF or TTC, DirectWrite supports it. Bitmap and vector files are still not supported, and neither are the Adobe Type 1.PFM and .PFB fonts.

That was some information on the new technology used in Chrome version 37 for Windows. For help with your browser issues, call our Windows support number.

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