Microsoft and Google: We're working together to fix these five browser problems

Compat2021 initiative aims to improve compatibility across browsers and make like easier for developers.

Microsoft is joining with Google, Igalia and others in the web community to improve browser compatibility under the Compat2021 initiative. 

The project will focus on five areas web developers struggle with when attempting to create a consistent experience across browsers using core web layout, forms and animation tools. These include: CSS Flexbox, CSS Grid, CSS position: sticky, the CSS aspect-ratio property, and CSS transforms.

Both companies point to the Compat 2021 Dashboard, which compares experimental and stable builds of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari, giving each browser a score out of 100.  

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"These scores represent how well browser engines are doing on the 2021 Compat Focus Areas, as measured by wpt.fyi test results. Each feature contributes up to 20 points to the score, based on passing-test percentage, giving a maximum possible score of 100 for each browser," the site states. 

Chrome and Edge from the Dev channel have a score of 86, while Firefox Nightly's score is 83, and Safari Preview has a score of 64. Comparing stable builds, Chrome and Edge have a score of 83, while Firefox and Safari have respective scores of 68 and 60. 

"The goal in 2021 is to eliminate browser compatibility problems in five key focus areas so developers can confidently build on them as reliable foundations," explain Google's Robert Nyman and Philip Jägenstedt.

As per the Mozilla-hosted MDN Browser Compatibility Report 2020, web developers have been struggling with CSS Flexbox, CSS Grid and face problems achieving consistent layouts in recent browsers with dynamic viewport sizes and scrolling. 

The report also found the largest number of compatibility challenges were with Internet Explorer and Safari.

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The other key document informing the Compat2021 initiative is the MDN Web Developers Needs Assessment (DNA) report.  

Igalia, a Spanish open-source consultancy, is focusing on compatibility issues affecting Apple's WebKit browser engine. 

"While we contribute to all of the major browser engines, as the maintainers of the Official WebKit port for embedded systems, we're especially keen on helping address WebKit's compatibility gaps," Igalia notes in a blogpost

Separately, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), browser makers Google, MicrosoftMozilla, and Samsung, Igalia, and web-monetization platform Coil earlier this year launched Open Web Docs. The initiative contributes to Mozilla's MDN Web Docs, the central location that all browser makers have agreed to host official Web API documentation.