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Compat2021: Improving CSS Grid compatibility with GridNG

With next month’s release of Microsoft Edge 93, we’ll be releasing a rewrite of CSS Grid 1 module (“GridNG”), which substantially improves compatibility with other implementations of CSS Grid and addresses one of the top compatibility pain points for web developers. In this post, we’ll share more about the rewrite and what you can expect…

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With next month’s release of Microsoft Edge 93, we’ll be releasing a rewrite of CSS Grid 1 module (“GridNG”), which substantially improves compatibility with other implementations of CSS Grid and addresses one of the top compatibility pain points for web developers. In this post, we’ll share more about the rewrite and what you can expect to see in Edge and other Chromium browsers.

You can try the updated implementation today – just install the latest Microsoft Edge Beta build, and please report any issues you find in Chromium’s bug tracker!

LayoutNG has been a multi-year rewrite of the layout engine in Blink, Chromium’s underlying rendering engine. Since its inception, it has improved performance and fixed longstanding issues from the legacy layout engine. Since LayoutNG’s initial launch with support for inline and block layout in Chrome and Microsoft Edge 76, other layout primitives (CSS Table Layout, CSS Flexbox) have been incrementally rewritten, stabilized, and launched.

When we announced our switch to the Chromium project, we emphasized our commitment to improving the web for everyone. The rewrite of Blink’s implementation of the CSS Grid 1 module (GridNG) which will be launching in the M93 release of Microsoft Edge and Chrome is a great example of this. To provide some background, CSS Grid is a layout primitive that allows web developers to align elements in rows and columns, providing a more intuitive model than CSS tables for creating two dimensional layouts. CSS Grid also incorporates popular concepts from CSS Flexbox as well as terminology from well-established graphic design principles.

The usage of CSS Grid on the Web has been slowly but steadily growing over the past few years:

However, Web developers have given consistent feedback that differences in grid layout between browser engines have been a source of pain. These difficulties have been exacerbated as CSS Grid adoption increases and a larger breadth of scenarios are exercised. As this has been a theme in multiple Web developer surveys, CSS Grid was identified as a key area of the Web Platform to invest in during 2021. Microsoft happily took this on as a focus area as part of a broader commitment with Google to work together to improve browser compatibility as part of the Compat2021 effort.

GridNG fixes many long standing issues reported by web developers using Grid on their sites, along with Web Platform Tests that measure an implementation’s conformance to the spec. Those same WPT tests are the basis for the Compat2021 score, which increased from 94.3% to 96.5% when GridNG was enabled. Overall, launching GridNG addresses 38 issues from Chromium’s bug tracker.

Using images and other replaced content within Grid was an example of interoperability issues that developers encountered with Grid. Previously, there was limited compatibility between implementations, but that is now solved by GridNG. For the following examples, Gecko (the rendering engine for Firefox) and Blink now both produce the correct results, as specified.

Before After

Here, the previous layout on the left shows misaligned icons due to grid items with images producing incorrect track sizing.

SVG content embedded in grids showed similar issues, where the aspect ratio was not correctly preserved.

Before After

On the left is the legacy layout – the SVG content is stretched instead of preserved as expected and specified, as seen on the right.

GridNG took advantage of other advances in LayoutNG, (specifically the improved layout of replaced elements) along with adhering to the spec when rewriting the component, to fix this class of issues.

Besides compatibility, performance was another consistent issue reported by developers. Because of the primitives that LayoutNG operates on, along with improved caching mechanisms, GridNG has better performance in key scenarios, while avoiding the invalidation issues that were reported against the legacy architecture. The most prominent example is the layout of nested grids, which had exponential complexity, which you can see in this demo site.

This performance cliff was easily hit by developers and affects live sites (you can see instances of this in this Firefox bug and its duplicates). Thanks to our improvements in GridNG, web developers will no longer face these performance issues – which have long affected multiple browser engines – in Chromium. There is still some remaining work to be done to get back to parity or better with the legacy implementation for all Blink’s perf regression microbenchmarks, but we are happy to address one of the major issues preventing developers from employing complex nested grid layouts.

One final benefit of finishing off GridNG is that it opens the door to implement subgrid (CSS Grid level 2). This has been a feature request of Blink for a long time, with almost 600 stars in Chromium’s bug tracker at the time of writing. Since the constraints of the legacy layout engine, and the NG conversion effort are no longer factors, we’re excited to start work to help developers achieve the layouts that subgrid unlocks.

If you are a Web Developer using grid layouts, please install the latest Microsoft Edge Beta build and report any issues you find in Chromium’s bug tracker.

The development of GridNG was only possible due to close collaboration with our counterparts at Google. A huge thanks to Ian Kilpatrick and Christian Biesinger for explaining concepts, providing design feedback, detailed code reviews, and contributing key patches!

– Daniel Libby, Principal Software Engineering Manager, Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft

Minions DLC update lands on Minecraft

Illumination’s Minions mashup just got an update that Minecraft players can access now. “Playing as Gru, your quest is to become the biggest, baddest super-villain, and to do that you’ll need to gather gadgets, Minions and your courage to take on the Vicious 6: a team of supervillains who aren’t thrilled about your attempts to…

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Illumination’s Minions mashup just got an update that Minecraft players can access now.

“Playing as Gru, your quest is to become the biggest, baddest super-villain, and to do that you’ll need to gather gadgets, Minions and your courage to take on the Vicious 6: a team of supervillains who aren’t thrilled about your attempts to steal their thunder,” writes Sophie Austin on Minecraft.net. “As your devious plans take shape, you’ll need to fill up your villain-o-meter by sneaking, racing and directing your Minions in increasingly crafty ways before facing your foes in a fiery final showdown.”

Also, to celebrate the launch of this update and the new Minions movie, you can get a free in-game Minion hoodie in the Dressing Room.

If you’ve already bought the Minions x Minecraft mash-up, the new update will be available free of charge. If you haven’t, head on over to Minecraft Marketplace, where you can buy the downloadable content.

Visit Minecraft.net to find out more.

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Play Sea of Thieves’ fifth free adventure, ‘The Forsaken Hunter,’ until July 14

Hey Sea of Thieves players: Swap your pirate hat for a detective’s cap as you uncover clues and find out the fate of the missing Merrick in “The Forsaken Hunter,” the game’s latest narrative-driven adventure, from June 30 to July 14. This update is available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have…

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Hey Sea of Thieves players: Swap your pirate hat for a detective’s cap as you uncover clues and find out the fate of the missing Merrick in “The Forsaken Hunter,” the game’s latest narrative-driven adventure, from June 30 to July 14.

This update is available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have bought the game on Windows 10/11 PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One or via Steam, or players who have access to it with Xbox Game Pass. Simply download and install the latest Sea of Thieves update to get access.

Head over to Xbox Wire to watch the trailer and find out more.

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Customers share their stories on migrating to Dynamics 365

At some point, we’ve all experienced regret over not doing something. Opportunity passes us due to our over analysis, indecision, and uncertainty. Even though we’ve all done this, we rarely seek the advice of others, thinking our situation is somehow unique or different. This rationale is common among the on-premises organizations we speak to. They…

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At some point, we’ve all experienced regret over not doing something.

Opportunity passes us due to our over analysis, indecision, and uncertainty. Even though we’ve all done this, we rarely seek the advice of others, thinking our situation is somehow unique or different.

This rationale is common among the on-premises organizations we speak to. They understand the benefits for moving to the cloud but chose to focus on all the reasons not to—aging infrastructure, manual processes, and siloed data notwithstanding.

Hearing how others are approaching this critical technological evolution can be invaluable. Not to mention relatable. Here are a few customer stories we’ve collected; perhaps you might recognize yourself or the circumstances?

Discover other Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM customer stories to learn about migration best practices and the benefits others are seeing in the cloud.

A small company with sizeable goals

Sonee Sports, is a small 28-year-old, family-run retail chain in the Maldives. The company moved its Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 in the cloud to streamline its resource planning, point of sale, and relationship management activities. Sonee Sports has grown from a single desk in a hardware store to 10 stores across the Maldives however, this growth didn’t come without challenges, particularly when it came to technology.

Maumoon Abdullah, Sonee Sports’s co-founder, has long advocated for using technology to understand, retain, and engage new customers. “In 2016, we had a customer churn rate of 10 percent—not good. We knew that technology was key to keeping our business afloat,” Abdullah said. However, their previous enterprise resource planning (ERP) took hours to generate reports, the data was inaccurate, so decision makers stopped using it. In time, Sonee Sports realized it had to move its entire business to the cloud.

With help from Mumbai-based CloudFronts, a Microsoft Partner Network partner, Sonee Sports upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics 365, deployed Microsoft Power BI for analytics, and rolled out a cloud-based e-commerce system. “We needed an all-around ERP system that was reliable, easy to use, and mobile-friendly and that offered a host of options for accessing information. Dynamics 365 Retail fits these criteria very well.” Abdullah says. 

With this setup, Sonee Sports has cut its IT maintenance costs by 38 percent and improved customer retention by over 8 percent.

“With Dynamics 365, we finally have the data we need to understand our customers.” Abdullah says. “The value of this is priceless.”

Read more about Sonee Sport’s migration to Dynamics 365.

A growing city with changing needs

It can be easy to forget that cities are a lot like corporations—they provide services to their “customers,” often relying on technology to deliver the goods.

Bristol is a diverse city in southwest England, with more than 90 languages spoken and a population of just over 463,000. Bristol City Council is the unitary authority and is responsible for a wide range of services including taxation, waste management, education, etc. Like many struggling municipalities, Bristol City Council felt it could no longer rely on its IT system to meet day-to-day demands of the city. Its systems weren’t agile or mobile-friendly and lacked a unified platform to support collaboration or leverage data insights.

“The council was historically, deeply dissatisfied with its IT systems and processes.” says Simon Oliver, Director of Digital Transformation at Bristol City Council. 

Bristol City Council realized the only way forward was to modernize its Dynamics CRM 2016 instance to Dynamics 365, which would improve efficiency and collaboration. Moving, however, was a significant undertaking, involving migrating 54 workloads and orchestrating nearly 500 ecosystem partners, and staff.

Built on Microsoft Azure, with Microsoft Power Platform and Office 365, Bristol City Council deployed Dynamics 365 alongside toolsets to increase productivity. “Working with Microsoft has given us an opportunity to look at our entire approach to delivering IT services, to reshape our way of thinking and the culture of the IT department,” explains Oliver. 

Read more about the Bristol City Council transformation.

An industry leader looking to drive purpose

Peet Limited, a leader in Australia’s property industry, believes in helping people gain peace of mind through property ownership. And their commitment to IT innovation has enabled them to remain competitive through market disruptions.

As part of its ongoing mission to offer quality service, the company partnered with Microsoft to upgrade its IT systems and move critical line-of-business applications to the cloud. Justyn Bridge, IT Manager at Peet Limited, explained, “Microsoft 365 is a complete, intelligent solution…it empowers Peet employees to be creative and work together.” Peet Limited had confidence in Microsoft because the organization was already using both Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX, for its customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP, respectively.

Peet Limited designed its cloud strategy around security with the goal of end-to-end protection in mind; for them, security promoted value. Bridge explains that one of the best benefits of using Microsoft 365 is having a “single pane of glass” to view Peet Limited’s security landscape. Using Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Analytics, Peet Limited had a succinct, real-time view of an attack timeline with the ability to analyze and identify normal versus suspicious user or device behavior.

Considering the project, Bridge notes, “We sought better end-to-end protection, and Microsoft 365 gave us that. Our business has gained security in both protection and mindset.”

Read more about Peet Limited’s story.

When you’re ready to migrate, Microsoft is here to help

We all have stories that define us. Organizations are no different. Whether you’re looking to grow your footprint, improve services, or modernize your underlying technology, the Microsoft Cloud can meet your changing needs. While migrating to the cloud should be a business priority, the experiences above illustrate the importance of planning. When you’re ready to migrate your on-premises solution to the cloud, Microsoft is here to support your journey.

Learn from the other Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM migration stories in our library. Visit the Dynamics 365 Migration Community to access partner discovery resources and other assets to help you migrate with confidence.

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