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How Interop 2023 Will Improve Browser Interoperability

Web developers often experience challenges when building sites that meet performance expectations across browser ...

Web developers often experience challenges when building sites that meet performance expectations across browser implementations. Users have the option to use any web browser that meets their needs. Interop 2023 is the latest round of an ongoing collaboration to promote interoperability, which means that users can expect websites and web-based applications that adhere to common standards to behave similarly in any browser. Find out more about the focus areas and investigations for this year.

unsplash - stock - working together-2What Is Interop 2023?

This year’s Interop is the third year of a collaborative initiative between Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Bocoup and Igalia to promote interoperability between web browsers. Interop 2023 builds on the focus areas and investigations pursued in Interop 2022 and Compat 2021. Each year introduces new focus areas for targeted development as well as areas of investigation.

Each year, Interop leads to quantifiable improvement across all participating browsers. The number of passing tests in three leading browsers increased from 49% to 83% in 2022. Successive initiatives introduce new areas of focus, extend areas of focus from previous years that still need improvement to increase interoperability and introduce investigations that require test infrastructure.

What Are Focus Areas and Investigations?

Focus areas have clear specifications and are covered by existing web platform tests. The pass rate of tests across browser implementations indicates the level of progress in these areas. Active focus areas contribute to the scores for the current year (in this case, Interop 2023). Inactive focus areas date back to previous years and are often areas in which the developers do not expect further improvement.

Investigations target areas that lack interoperability and in which it is difficult for existing tests to quantify performance across browsers. Preliminary work is necessary to understand the nature of these areas and develop infrastructure to allow for testing to assess compliance. Group progress on testing areas can lead to investigations becoming focus areas for future Interop initiatives.

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What Are the Main Focus Areas for Interop 2023?

Some of the primary focus areas for browser interoperability in 2023 include the :has() family selector and CSS pseudo-classes, container queries, web components for creating reusable custom elements and OffscreenCanvas for rendering graphics off of the main thread to improve speed and responsiveness.

Interop 2023 includes a total of 26 focus areas. These priorities range from interoperability for CSS styling and layout solutions to font feature detection and palettes, support for vertical text in form fields, inert elements, module support, pointer and mouse events, URLs, web codecs, web components and compatibility issues.

Which Focus Areas From 2022 Carry Over to 2023?

Several focus areas from Interop 2022 will carry over into 2023 to allow for ongoing improvement. The scrolling focus area for 2023 includes Scroll Snap as well as the scroll-behavior and overscroll-behavior properties. Work on the subgrid to fully realize an interoperable vision of the CSS grid is also ongoing. Other CSS carryovers include color spaces and functions, container queries and form support.

CSS Transforms were a focus area in Compat 2021 and work on this mechanism for transforming boxes in two- or three-dimensional space has continued over the last two years. The current goal is to raise the number of tests on 3D transforms that pass in all three browser engines above 92.8%.

What Investigation Efforts Are Planned for Interop 2023?

Two investigations this year are mobile browsing interaction and assistive technology for accessibility. At this time, test infrastructure for mobile platforms and accessibility APIs remains insufficient. The mobile testing investigation will target interoperability challenges and establish a shared infrastructure for running mobile-specific tests.

The performance of assistive tools, such as screen readers, is difficult to test across browsers. The accessibility testing investigation aims to make development standards for assistive tools that can be tested across browsers so that accessibility can become a focus area in the future.

What Are the Web Compatibility Tests for 2023?

Web compatibility testing is a grab bag of bugs based on observed site breakage. Browser bug reports and Web Compat bugs are high-priority issues that directly target interoperability. Tests in the Web Compat 2022 focus area achieved an interoperability rate of 96.9% across three browser engines and a score of 100% in two out of three browsers.

With the retirement of 2022's web compatibility tests, Web Compat 2023 has introduced new tests. These tests cover the CSS functional notation image-set() and the white-space and text-emphasis properties in addition to event dispatching on disabled controls, inline editing and Regex Lookbehind.

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Where Are Interop 2023 Updates Published?

The web-platform-tests dashboard includes current focus area scores based on test pass rates for active focus areas and previous focus areas. This dashboard also measures group progress on active investigations and previous investigations. Site visitors can toggle between test pass rates for experimental features for Chrome Dev, Edge Dev, Firefox Nightly and Safari Technology Preview as well as pass rates for the latest versions of the Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari browsers.

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