Microsoft teams up with Apple, Google and Mozilla to improve the web with Interop 2022

Interop 2022

Four of the biggest browser developers have joined forces to participate in the Interop 2022 initiative. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla are working together to improve interoperability between web platforms, make lives easier for developers, and enhance the experience of internet users.  

Interop 2022 is a series of tests, a set of benchmarks that are at heart a way to measure whether individual browsers meet various web standards, working with web developers to discover problems and find solutions. The ultimate aim is to eliminate inconsistencies between browsers, and it gives a reason for companies who are usually competitors to work together on a shared vision.

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This is not the first time there has been a coming together of big names for the purpose of improving compatibility and interoperability. Last year, for instance, there was Compat 2021 which had a limit remit, but this time it feels that there is a greater sense of drive. In addition to Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, software consultancies Bocoup and Igalia are also involved.

This year's work will involve tackling 15 focus areas including cascade layers, new viewport units, and color spaces and CSS color functions. There are also three investigations:

  • Editing, contenteditable and execCommand
  • Pointer and Mouse Events
  • Viewport Measurement

All of the companies involved have issued statements about their eagerness to take part and to help improve the web. Microsoft says:

Representatives from Apple, Bocoup, Google, Igalia, Microsoft, and Mozilla collectively agreed that [Compat 2021]'s name did not accurately reflect its intent to address core interoperability gaps between browsers. This year, Microsoft is again pleased to announce its participation in the more aptly named Interop 2022 effort.

While Microsoft will be primarily focused on shipping CSS Subgrid support, this is only one of the fifteen areas of interoperability that Interop 2022 will focus on. These include longstanding areas of developer frustration, along with frequently requested new features that web developers will be able to adopt with confidence.

Mozilla says: "Writing high quality standards is a necessary first step to an interoperable web platform, but ensuring that browsers are consistent in their behavior requires an ongoing process. Browsers must work to ensure that they have a shared understanding of web standards, and that their implementation matches that understanding. Interop 2022 is a cross-browser initiative to find and address the most important interoperability pain points on the web platform. The end result is a public metric that will assess progress toward fixing these interoperability issues".

Google is similarly upbeat about its involvement, saying:

The goal of these multi-year interoperability efforts, in the form of Compat 2021, Interop 2022 and much more, is to fully acknowledge and address the pain points developers have experienced through for many years. And it's not a one-browser effort but rather a strong collaboration between all major browser vendors and friends for improving the web platform across the board.

In essence, the goal is to make the web platform more usable and reliable for developers, so that they can spend more time building great web experiences instead of working around browser inconsistencies.

Affirming its commitment to interoperability, Apple says: "All of these technologies are important to Apple and to 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 it can be. Because that’s how websites and web apps will work best for the people who matter most -- everyday people using the web to live their lives".

You can check out the Interop 2022 dashboard here.

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