Browser makers Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, along with software consultants Bocoup and Igalia, have agreed to work together to make web design technologies work more consistently across different platforms.
The group created a repository called Interop 2022 to assess how a handful of web standards are implemented by different vendors, with a view to ironing out differences. The idea is that web applications should look and behave the same on different devices and operating systems. At the moment, that’s not the case, much to the chagrin of web developers who still struggle with browser inconsistencies.
“For the first time ever, all major browser vendors and other stakeholders have come together to address key browser compatibility issues identified by web developers,” said Rachel Andre, Philip Jägenstedtand Robert Nyman from Google, in a blog post Thursday.
There was a similar web compatibility check called Compatible 2021 which began in 2019 and surfaced last year. He focused on five pain points – CSS Flexbox, CSS Grid,
aspect-ratioand CSS transforms – but didn’t include Apple or its WebKit team, at least not publicly.
Interop 2022 measures the performance of major browsers on test suites for 15 web platform specifications and three features currently under consideration that are not fully specified. These include: Cascading layers, Color spaces and CSS color functions, New window units, Scrolland Subnet.
The Interop 2022 specs offer a way for companies that are usually rivals to find common ground because they’re design-driven and lack obvious privacy, security, or functionality implications.
Other efforts to expand browser capabilities through new APIs and features are sometimes met with indifference or antipathy by rival browser makers, especially when the proposal has business model implications.
Apple, for example, has been slow to implement some web APIs in Safari and WebKit that would help web apps compete with native iOS apps. Google, meanwhile, has decided to come up with a new privacy-preserving way to serve ads (its Privacy sandbox) after Apple, Brave, and Mozilla went on a web cookie diet. And then there was that time in 2019 when Google blocked a proposal to revise the W3C Privacy Interest Group’s charter for fear that the change would interfere with its ability to innovate.
It’s only over the past year, as regulators have pressed Apple and Google over competition issues, that the major browser makers have sought to work together rather than race to offer. features that lack adherence.
Now we have Jen Simmons, Apple Web Development Evangelist insistent, “We care deeply about the health of the web and interoperable implementations of web standards.” This is the complete opposite of what many web developers have been saying for years.
The Interop 2022 test dashboard measures browser performance on various benchmarks. When it comes to stable browser releases, things look pretty bad. Chrome and Edge score 61 out of 100; Firefox scores 69; and Safari scores 50. But the various experimental and preview versions of the browser show improved results: 71, 74, and 73 respectively.
This bit of technical coordination and cooperation between browser-making rivals seems to be good for the web and those who use it.
“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,” Andrew explained. , Jägenstedt and Nyman. ®