Today, at the HTML5 Developers Conference, Microsoft demonstrated a build of Mozilla Firefox supporting Pointer Events. This Nightly build integrates Microsoft Open Technologies' contribution to the Mozilla open source project to add support for Pointer Events, the new W3C specification to handle multiple input types in Web apps and sites. In his talk, Jacob Rossi, Program Manager in the Internet Explorer team, is presenting the steady progress towards interoperable support for Pointer Events through standardization at W3C and highlighted MS Open Tech's contributions to open source projects WebKit, Blink and Gecko.
MS Open Tech working closely with open source communities
MS Open Tech has been working with the WebKit and Blink open source communities, delivering prototype implementations of pointer events for WebKit, and then starting collaboration with the Blink community. Back in June, MS Open Tech engineers also engaged with Mozilla to kick off work to support the Pointer Events API; work is progressing nicely, as demonstrated at HTML5DevConf by Rossi and as you can see for yourself downloading the nightly build from Mozilla’s project.
On the Blink front, after publishing several experimental patches, MS Open Tech has made its first commit, leading with added support for MaxTouchPoints, a property of the of the navigator object.
Work is also in progress for integrating events support; the community has already started committing changes to enable the CSS property touch-action, a key element of the Pointer Events technology.
Pointer Events on the fast lane to become a W3C recommendation
Pointer Events was introduced with Internet Explorer 10, and developers are already supporting pointer events in their sites. The Flipboard website is a great example of the type of experience you can easily implement with Pointer Events. You can see here some of the top sites that hook up to pointer events in their code to deliver great touch experiences that also work well with other input devices.
You can learn more about Pointer Events by checking the Pointer Events Primer on WebPlatform.org, developed by Rob Dolin, senior program manager at MS Open Tech. The primer provides guidance on how to migrate to Pointer Events from mouse events, and how to access and use additional attributes such as pointerType, button(s) pressed, touch size and pen tilt. The primer is a great resource if you are migrating your code from handling mouse, to consistently handling input from mouse, pen and touch.
An important milestone in the Pointer Events journey is the recent release of Internet Explorer 11 Windows 8.1 that supports Pointer Events out of the box, without prefixes! Unprefixed pointer event support is also available in the IE11 for Windows 7 Release Preview. Developers that adopted the prefixed MSPointer APIs should migrate to unprefixed pointer events for best compatibility with IE11 and in preparation for interoperable support across browsers. For more information, read the guidance available on MSDN.
Contribute and start coding now
We encourage interested developers to participate in the community process and provide feedback to ensure that Gecko, Blink and WebKit have great Pointer Events implementations. As you start building, migrating, or testing your Web apps using Pointer Events for either Internet Explorer 11, one of the builds of Chrome or Firefox supporting Pointer Events, or leveraging a polyfill such as hand.js or the Polymer Pointer Events polyfill, you should check out the resources available on the Pointer Events Wiki at Web Platform Docs.
Jump in, have fun with the demos, join the discussion at #PointerEvents and update your site with the cool capabilities of Pointer Events. Point. Click. Touch.
Asir Vedamuthu Selvasingh, Principal Program Manager - Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
Adalberto Foresti, Principal Program Manager - Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.