Apple is working with browser developers Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla to make web design technologies more consistent, no matter what browser a user relies on.
When is a norm not a norm?
The problem is that some browsers handle web technologies in different ways. This might lead to the saying, “When is a standard not a standard? If it’s a web standard.”
But when it comes to developers, particularly enterprise developers, trying to build consistent web interfaces across platforms, products, and browsers, this becomes a painful point of friction. It looks like browser developers have a growing understanding of it, hence the new group.
What the Interoperability 2022 The goal of the Alliance is to determine how web standards are implemented by these different vendors. Following is a similar work that took place under the Compat 2021 Grouping.
The latter saw some success: “The progress we’ve made together in 2021 has been incredible, and with greater vendor involvement and an even broader range of interoperability areas to tackle, we can’t wait to see how far the web platform has developed this year. ” wrote Daniel LibbyPrincipal Software Engineering Manager of Microsoft Edge.
What is Interop22?
The goal of the project is to ensure that web applications based on these standards work and look the same in the vibrant world of different devices, platforms and operating systems. With any luck, web developers can one day be confident that the experiences they provide are consistent for all users.
“The hope is that we can move towards a future where we know how to make these areas interoperable, update the relevant web standards for them, and measure them with tests like we do with focus areas.” said Mozilla.
Interop 2022 tests 15 web platform specifications and three features that are not yet fully developed. Among other things, cascade layers, color spaces, CSS color functions, scrolling and more are tested. Improvements in all of these areas are likely to be welcomed by developers, users, and platform owners alike.
Why Interop 2022?
Simply put, it only looks at the user experience/design instead of looking deeper into the browser code. That means browser developers don’t have to share access to core functionality with competitors, which they almost certainly would rather not do.
What’s interesting is that this attempt arose when a group of web developers got together to complain about WebKit’s limitations in iOS development. Specifically, they complain Developers of other browsers must use WebKit, rather than their own technology. Industry observers point out that Apple is unlikely to agree to this request, not only because it could increase Safari’s limitations, but also because it could impact hardware performance, security, and battery life.
This may or may not be relevant to Apple’s involvement in Interop 22, but anything that makes different browsers work more consistently probably helps mitigate the criticism.
What Apple said
writing on the WebKit pageApple Evangelist for Web Developer Experiences Jen Simmons said:
“All of these technologies are important to Apple and everyone working on WebKit. We care deeply about the health of the web and interoperable implementations of web standards. We welcome collaboration with our colleagues in the many web standards organizations and in Interop 2022 to make the web as interoperable as possible. Because that’s how websites and web apps work best for the people who matter most – everyday people who use the internet for their lives.”
Company critics will note that Apple hasn’t accelerated the implementation of some web APIs that could help developers build web apps to compete with native iOS apps. Apple isn’t the only one to be lax about implementing some of the standards, of course – Google has also stumbled, especially about privacy.
Still, it seems promising that major browser developers are discovering that pine-to-pine is beating war-to-war. Perhaps we would all have benefited from learning this lesson more deeply in school.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3652610/apple-google-microsoft-and-mozilla-aim-for-a-more-consistent-web.html#tk.rss_all Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla strive for a more consistent web