Google Drops Support For Microsoft’s Pointer Events Standard In Chrome Browsers Citing Lame Reasons

Pointer events is a new standard which Microsoft initiated at first and later developed by the W3C to define a unified device input model – pen, mouse and touch – across multiple browsers. Pointer Events makes it easier to support a variety of browsers and devices by saving Web developers from writing unique code for each input type. To demonstrate cross browser interoperability for Pointer Events, Microsoft contributed patches to Blink and Mozilla browser engines, and developed interoperability prototypes, including a Pointer Events prototype for WebKit. Also, Pointer Events was well received by the web community.

Last week, Chrome team posted that they are planning to drop Pointer Events support in Chrome citing the following reasons.

Issue 162757

Very briefly, pointer events has 3 main drawbacks relative to the alternative: 1) Mobile-first web: Pointer events would likely never supplant touch events on the web (especially without support from Safari). Since touch events are here to stay, supporting another largely redundant input model has a high long-term complexity cost on the web platform. 2) Performance: The hit testing model required by pointer events imposes a non-trivial performance penalty (hit test on every movement event) that neither Android, iOS or touch events has. We’re not willing to add any feature that increases the web’s performance disadvantage relative to native mobile platforms. 3) Richness: Pointer events requires that scrolling and event handling are mutually exclusive. This precludes some UI effects which are common on on mobile platforms (eg. pull to refresh). Recently strong developer feedback has lead us to change Chrome in the opposite direction here – enabling event handling while scrolling (see issue 293467 ). We’re committed to working in the web standards community to improve input on the web, and we especially value the relationship we’ve recently built up with the IE team here. Despite this difference in technical opinion on what’s best for the web, I’m optimistic that we’ll still make good progress together.

While you can argue about 2nd and 3rd points, I think the first reason is unacceptable. Since Apple’s Safari didn’t support the standard now, they don’t want to develop another redundant input model. I can list no.of features on Chrome that are not yet available on other browsers and it is redundant right now. Will Google remove those features from the browsers? Also, Google’ Android and Chrome are much more popular than Safari, combining it with IE and Firefox, almost majority of the web browsing market is covered. I don’t know why Google is not willing to go against Apple in this case.

There are couple of posts from experts on this matter who have presented their views about Google’s action on pointer events, read them from the link below.

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