back to article Microsoft and Google, sitting in a tree, working on browser compatibility

While its managers squabble, engineers at Microsoft and Google have put their heads together to ease some of the more severe developer pain points in browsers. Spoiler: it involves CSS. Those who remember Microsoft's shenanigans during the heyday of Internet Explorer will doubtless be feeling a twinge of irony at the thought …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge


    ...what a clever idea. Fixing stuff rather than adding more bloat no one wants.

    1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Re: Wow...

      They'll get bored, hipsters always do

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow...

      You forgot to add that they will totally ignore all that lovely code that tracks and snoops on the users.

      Google would not know what to do without all that lovely data that just happens to fall right into their laps.

      Cynical? You bet.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Wow...

      Fix? Are you familiar with these two companies?

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Been there, done that, ...

    ... here is the T-shirt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been there, done that, ...

      Oh, dang, I remember seeing that tshirt and... not getting it, that the box should/could enclose the entire text. Then again, containment problems happen so often I think it's 'normal'.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Weird way round?

    I thought the web had documented standards that browser developers were expected to follow. It appears I was wrong. It seems that browser developers are creating the standards the web finds itself obliged to follow. What's worse, different browser developers are tinkering with the standards in competition with each other. This attempt at "compatibility" merely highlights (and maybe attempts to partially rectify) the problem they've created in the first place.

    None of this is really for us the users - it's "competition".

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Weird way round?

      The annoying thing about standards is that they're written by humans. That means that at some level there is ambiguity. If different vendors produce software to different interpretations of the standards, but both 'correct', that's not entirely their fault.

      Working together to reach a common understanding of how to interpret the standard (ie resolve the ambiguity) is A Good Thing.

      Then there are the extensions which are useful but bleeding-edge, which they want to try out before codifying a standard for. Work out the bugs, document it, then get others to adopt it. It might not be the ideal workflow, but I can't see how you can get around that without stifling innovation.

      As someone who's been building websites for 20+ years, I can tell you that things are a hell of a lot better now than they ever were before!

      1. Randy Hudson

        Re: Weird way round?

        The annoying thing about standards is they’re written by Mozilla, after the fact, while other implementation chose more logical interpretations yo various combinations of settings.

      2. Notas Badoff

        Ambiguity and egos

        "Working together to reach a common understanding of how to interpret the standard (ie resolve the ambiguity) is A Good Thing."

        I've mentioned elsewhere my travails with Flexbox, and with the fact that three major browser makers all agreed on one interpretation of one word in the standard, but Google's guy did a Humpty-dumpty and said "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

        Three-some years later he left Google, and fast-forward a few months the mis-implementation got fixed. "Working together" is a very good thing.

        BTW: I didn't see mentioned here that for something to become a standard feature it has to be implemented by at least two different vendors, and nominally compatibly. That the edge cases come out after the standards do is unfortunate, but I don't know a process that would reliably avoid that on such a large stage as the world.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Weird way round?

      The problem with standards is they do not allow for bloat and therefore, job and market lock-in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weird way round?

      Embrace, Extend, Exterminate?

      Honestly, the *RIGHT* way to do this would be to actually implement the existing standards, instead of rolling their own.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    The problem isn't adherence to standards

    It is corruption of the standards. Look at all the crap Google has shoehorned in to web standards, like standards based ways to access USB devices from a browser. How many times do we have to tell them, we don't want a browser to be an operating system!

    Fortunately not everyone implements those "standards", but then when you have efforts to measure how "standard" a browser is in comparison to other browsers, the one that smartly omits such crap looks like it is behind when it is in fact ahead when it comes to security/privacy.

    1. dmausner

      Re: The problem isn't adherence to standards

      Except that we live in browsers nowadays. See chromebook. A site wants to work the same way and access webcam or microphone on all devices. USB makes it mostly possible.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: The problem isn't adherence to standards

        The security implications of having web browsers allowed to access webcams is FAR more important IMHO than the marginal benefit of being able to operate a "zoom" like site without an app or plugin.

  5. chrisw67

    How much cooperation?

    How much cooperation is required to harmonise the behaviour of two browsers when one of the two is using code provided (mostly) by the vendor of the other?

    Has Microsoft deliberately added "features" to their version?

  6. HandleAlreadyTaken


    > The ad slinger's involvement in the Compat 2021 project augers well for progress.

    So the next browser version will come with nice wooden panels?

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    LOL, dogs breakfast for all!

    The two WORST offenders of browsers are collaborating.

    This will end well!


  8. Rick Deckard

    Hmm..I can't wait to C ss the result of this collab.

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