Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla are working together in order to improve the web standards that are used across browsers and devices. It might sound like a cool crossover episode of superheroes, but this is not the first time the browser giants are pooling resources, they began working together in 2019.
Last year, the 4 browser makers collaborated for the Compat 2021 conference. This time, the alliance is being called Interop 2022, derived from the word interoperability.
Why is this important?
When a website tries to prevent access to a particular browser by saying something like, this site is best viewed in Chrome. Or, “please use a modern browser”, and provides links to browsers that you don’t use, it’s annoying. You can usually get around this problem by spoofing the user-agent, either by using an add-on or by modifying a preference in the program’s settings. That’s not very complicated, but think about this.
Have you ever run into a website that doesn’t work properly in one browser? It may load slowly, may appear broken, or uses a lot of resources while rendering the page. But when you try accessing the portal from a different browser, it may load perfectly. In such scenarios, the issue is not on the user’s side per se. People jokingly blame such bugs on the web developers and say that they didn’t code/test the site properly, to check if it is compatible with all modern browsers. Many users claim that YouTube runs better on Chromium browsers than on Firefox. Similarly, you may have observed a difference in the performance on other sites.
What is Interop 2022?
The problem isn’t that simple though, there is also the issue of device and operating system compatibility that one needs to consider. A website should perform adequately on all major platforms Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. Coding a website to support all these standards requires a lot of effort and time.
This is one of the concerns that the browser alliance aims to address. The tech giants want to make it easier for developers by setting universal web standards, that will enable them to code their web apps and sites to work across browsers and platforms.
Interop 2022 provides a benchmark that rates how Chrome/Edge, Firefox, and Safari fared in tests spanning 15 different web performance areas including Cascade Layers, Color Spaces and Functions, Containment, Dialog Element, Forms, Scrolling, Subgrid, Typography and Encodings, Viewport Units and Web Compat.
There is no winner or loser here because it is not a competition, the tests are meant to point which areas a browser needs to be improved in, compared to the others. If you are curious about the numbers, head over to the web platform tests dashboard on Interop 2022’s website, and analyze the results.
ComputerWorld mentions that Apple does not allow iOS apps to use their own browser engine. As a result of this restriction, every single browser on the App Store including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, all use Safari’s Webkit-based engine. This is one of the concerns that has been raised by developers. Hopefully this will change in the future.
If you are interested in the technical data, read the blog articles that have been published on Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft’s websites.
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