Google takes U-turn on "Pointer Events" standard; to support development

Google takes U-turn on "Pointer Events" standard; to support development

In February, the W3C, which is the body that determined standards for the World Wide Web, proclaimed that the Pointer Events functionality should become a standard feature for all web browsers. However, it got cold reception from Google and Apple which are known for their slow adoption standards. But, Google this week took a U-turn on the "Pointer Events" standard.

The company has decided to adopt it and integrate it with Chrome. The announcement was made in a Google Group post titled: "Intent to Implement: Pointer Events".

The announcement has received a positive response from the IE Dev Team, which has been helping the search engine major meet W3C standards. Why Google changed its decision is not yet clear but a general assumption is that it could be because of all the positive feedback about Pointer Events.

The Pointer Events API is a low-level input API for mouse, touch and stylus introduced by IE. Pointer Events extends the MouseEvent model while offering a replacement for all uses of Mouse and Touch events. Based on the feedback we’ve received, and the productive collaboration in the Pointer Events working group, I now believe we should implement this API in Blink.

This new standard is extremely important.  So far, majority of the HTML5 content are setup for mouse input recognition, but companies like Google now understand the growing popularity of a touch and a stylus input system. Until recently, the handling of non-mouse input features were done individually and it created a lot of unnecessary duplication of logic when new types of input had to be done. This issue prompted Microsoft to come up with the idea of Pointer Events which was later approved by the W3C.

One month since the standard was approved, Google had a said the company would “reevaluate” its stand on the issues, suggesting it was open to support "Pointer Events".

Google also said that that implementation of the feature would take "some time" due to "Pointer Events as currently defined requires a hit-test on every pointermove (as is the case for mousemove, but not touchmove). This imposes a performance cost on the engine which the major native mobile platforms and browsers don’t have."

However, Google also said that the company will work with the Pointer Events Working Group in order to overcome the obstacle, maybe via "API changes".

With this development, it is only Apple to make it clear whether its Safari web browser would also support for the latest W3C standard. However, as Google appears to be moving forward, Apple is sure to follow sooner or later.

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