The companies behind the world’s most popular browsers have come together for the first time to make the web more interoperable and easier for developers to grow.
The group is made up of members from Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple, as well as technology consultants Igalia and Bocoup. The group aims to identify common interoperability issues in web standards so developers can create better experiences for the web.
Web developers have identified 15 platform specs that are particularly troublesome when it comes to building browsing experiences. These aren’t supported by some browsers or are implemented in different ways, making it difficult to build apps that work optimally on all major browsers.
The group has built the Interop 2022 benchmark, alongside a series of tests that browsers will undergo to determine their overall interoperability with other browsers on the market, to identify areas for improvement.
Interop 2022 builds on last year’s Compat 2021 initiative, which saw Google, Mozilla and Microsoft work together to address five common issues related to web browser compatibility issues. The work culminated in December 2021, when it announced that all major browsers had achieved compatibility above 90% on the five major weak points.
The new areas of focus are added in the Interop 2022 benchmark alongside the five in Comapt 2021. The new areas include cascading layers, new viewport units, scrolling, and subgrid.
The group said Compat 2021’s five focus areas “have made great progress… but there is still room for improvement”. These areas included: CSS aspect ratio, CSS flex box, CSS grid, CSS sticky positioning, and CSS transforms.
In addition to the 15 priority areas, Interop 2022 will also introduce three “survey efforts” – problem areas that need improvement, but the current state of specs or testing is currently good enough to be able to mark progress using test results. These include edit, contneteditable, and execCommand; pointer and mouse events; and window measurement.
Each of the 15 focus areas can be tracked in the web platform’s testing dashboard and a set of tests have been identified to track their progress. Browsers are given scores for each domain and then an overall score to easily compare each other’s performance.
Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have been lumped into the same category given that they both run on Chromium, while Firefox and Safari each have their own scores.
All four browsers score roughly the same for interoperability in key areas, but the scores are significantly lower compared to the Compat 2021 scores and vary wildly for each browser in each area.
Chrome, Edge, and Safari only scored 10% on subgrid tests, for example, while Firefox scored 95%. Conversely, Chrome, Edge, and Safari scored 100% on viewport unit tests, while Firefox only scored 16%.
These scores highlight interoperability challenges and show how developers typically need to adapt their code to make web experiences work on all platforms, even when support is limited on some but not others. ‘others.
The goal of the Interop 2022 initiative is to remove these vast gaps in scores and make them more uniform, indicating a greater level of interoperability across the world’s most popular browsers.
“The goal of these multi-year interoperability efforts, in the form of Compat 2021, Interop 2022 and more, is to fully recognize and address issues that developers have had for many years,” said the Technical Writer. Rachel Andrew, developer attorney. Robert Nyman and software engineer Philip Jägenstedt, all of whom work for Google.
“And it’s not a single-browser effort, but rather a close collaboration between all major browser vendors and friends to improve the web platform at every level.
“Essentially, the goal is to make the web platform more usable and reliable for developers, so they can spend more time building great web experiences instead of working around browser inconsistencies.”
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