How often have you encountered a situation in which a website renders well and functions properly on one web browser but doesn’t, on another? Web browsers, which have generally delivered similar user experiences over time, have done so with different underlying technologies. That has, quite often, led to inter-compatibility issues annoying web developers and users. This could change soon, for the better, if the new initiative called Interlop 2022 has its way.
Interlop 2022 is being dubbed as a benchmark for web browsers, and on board are Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla. To be sure, the initiative has been around in some form since 2019, with Google and Mozilla leading the mission to make web browsers more compatible. The project will focus on 15 key areas this year, including cascade layers (these are layers of content on web pages), viewport units (the viewing size on different browsers and devices), grids and scrolling behaviour.
With Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox participating in this initiative, interoperability issues on websites and web content should reduce significantly. The numbers do indicate that these are the four most popular web browsers globally, on desktops.
According to the latest numbers by research firm Kinsta, the Google Chrome (77.03%) browser leads the race for market share for desktop browsers, followed by Safari (8.87%), Firefox (7.69%) and Edge (5.83%) which is climbing up the charts briskly.
On mobile, things are a bit different. Numbers by Statcounter indicate that Google Chrome leads with a 61.95% share among mobile devices, followed by Apple Safari (25.54%). But the third place is taken by Samsung Internet (4.95%) followed by Instabridge (2.04%) and Opera (1.88%).
“Writing high quality standards is a necessary first step to an interoperable web platform but ensuring that browsers are consistent in their behaviour requires an ongoing process,” said Mozilla, in an official statement. They insisted that browsers must have a shared understanding of the web standards and that the implementation should match that.
Quite a few browsers are presently not part of this benchmark. These include Vivaldi, Opera and Brave.
What does it mean for developers? Simply put, better collaboration across major web browsers will make it easier for them to design and develop web content that can work across platforms and devices, without requiring specific and often time-consuming optimizations as is the norm now.
“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,” said the official statement of the project. If developers have an easier time in putting websites and content together for browsers, users will have a much easier time too. No more having to open a website in another browser just because a form doesn’t load properly on your default browser. That is the expectation.