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Pointer Events Reaches W3C Final Stage, “Recommendation”

| by Abel Avram Follow 12 Followers on Feb 25, 2015. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the Pointer Events standard as a recommendation for wide adoption, but its future is in doubt as Apple and Google are refusing to implement it.

According to W3C’s standardization process, there have to be at least two separate implementations of a standard for its acceptance as a Proposed Recommendation, a criteria met by being implemented by Microsoft and Mozilla in their browsers and the Pointer Events polyfill library which recently changed hands from Google to jQuery.

Touch Events, a standard for dealing with events generated by a touchscreen, reached Recommendation status in October 2013, and it is implemented by Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Although Microsoft initially opposed the standard, they updated IE 11 in Windows Phone 8.1 to support Touch Events because “most sites have been coded to use the older Touch Events model and users expect those sites to just work. In the IE11 update, we added support for touch events so that these sites would work correctly.”

Having to support two ways of handling input is no joy for developers. Currently, Apple and Google cover almost all of the mobile market, but in the future more and more Windows laptops and devices with touchscreens will appear in the PC space. It remains to see if one of the two standards will make room for the other or they will coexist or maybe merge into a third. Web developers have the option to use the Pointer Events polyfill library to create websites or web apps that run properly on all devices.

For a more in-depth coverage of the Pointer vs. Touch Events issue, we recommend this InfoQ story: jQuery Takes Over the Pointer Events Polyfill from Google.

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