In the spirit of being platform agnostic, Microsoft also seems to be more intent on being standard compliant as well. Today, the W3C published Pointer Events as final Recommendation standard. For any of you who may have used the modern IE on a Windows 8 device, having a touch friendly browser is a thing of beauty. As of today, it seems Microsoft’s push towards a touch friendly IE will also bear fruit for the future of other web browsers.
A little over 2 years ago, Microsoft submitted their proposal to the W3C for a common model across pointing input devices. In that time, other companies like Mozilla, Google, Opera, jQuery and IBM have all contributed to improving the specs for the original proposal, resulting in better extensibility for new device types, additional configuration values for scrolling and zooming behaviors as well as constructors for synthesizing custom pointer events.
With this gained knowledge and collaboration, Microsoft was able to get the rendering engine in the Windows 10 Technical Preview (presumably Spartan) 100% compliant with the W3C test suite. That deserves a pat on the back. Not to be outdone, it looks like internal Firefox builds are also showing 100% pass rates; additionally jQuery, Dojo and other open source contributors are also reaping the collaborative benefits in maintaining a faithful polyfill called PEP.
It seems the only hold out now is Chrome. With Pointer Events garnering more than stars than 99.6% of the other tickets in the issue tracker, it’s hopeful that Chrome will eventually adopt the recommended standard.
Onto the ‘double tap’
We’ve all done it. Waited patiently for a page to load only to be left staring at an indiscernible wall of text located in the middle of the page. You thumb around quickly trying to find your bearings on the page, but quickly realize the page wasn’t optimized for a mobile device. What’s your next move? The double tap. Two quick taps anywhere on the page and for the most part is resizes back to a more digestible option. In order for this to work effectively, the gesture recognizer (yes that’s a thing) waits and analyze the ‘negative’ gesture (the pause between taps) before it can commit to first touch. This 300ms Tap Delay is now becoming the growing frustration between people resizing mobile viewing pages or inadvertently hitting the wrong links on a page.
Microsoft is looking to eliminate the dreaded Tap Delay and improve touch performance by setting viewpoint rules for their new rendering engine. In theory this should send a signal to the engine letting it know this site is being viewed on a mobile device and as such, should be optimized for a small screen. No more double taps to readjust.
The IE team also highlights some other measures they are taking to advance the browser, like deprecating the experimental vendor-prefixed version of pointer events, MSPointer Events. The team is also joining Chrome and Safari in how they implement touchmove events during scrolling; simplifying mouse events for touch and lastly adding compatibility and support for touch events for more devices.
We’ll be eager to help Microsoft test these new changes, once they release a build with Spartan in it.