Chrome and Pointer Events - Its Not Over, but We Need Your Help
Earlier this month the Chrome team announced they were not going to implement pointer events in Chrome. This despite announcing earlier in the year they would and community support. I wrote a Blog post describing the issue with the Chrome team's disappointing choice to ignore Pointer Events and expressing my concern just over a week ago.
In case you are new to the issue there are two browser APIs to react to a user touching the screen. Of course these APIs are needed since the majority of computing devices sold today have touch screens. I believe all modern application must support touch in some form, even if it is a tap event instead of click.
The problem developers face is consumers are buying more touch enabled devices than non-touch devices. It is a mobile first world. This means we must design our client interfaces to account for touch. This of course means implementing content layouts that are touchable, but also means we need to leverage input APIs that account for touch, like Pointer Events and Apple's patented touch API.
The great thing about the Pointer Event API is how it distills mouse, touch and pen inputs to a single common interface developers can build applications. The Apple touch API approach means developers must create more complicated code to account for touch, mouse and any other input modality API that may come along.
I wrote DeepTissue around 18 months ago to abstract the different input APIs to a common interface. I wrote it pointer events first, touch second and mouse 3rd. It was probably my fourth or fifth attempt to write a library to help me deal with touch, mouse interactions. In an ideal world libraries like DeepTissue would not been needed because these inputs would be part of a common API, like Pointer Events.
What Can You Do?
I got wind the Blink team, that is the team that created Google's Chrome browser, is watching the Chromium bug tracker issue #162757. This is the issue/bug report filed to have pointer events added to Chrome. They are trying to gauge how popular the API is with developers. The metric is how many times the issue is starred.
So please take a moment and tap the star in the top-left corner of the page and register your vote in support of pointer events in Chrome. Then tell some friends to do the same. Maybe the Blink team will take notice and use the code that was checked into the WebKit source almost 2 years ago and give developers an easy to use input modality abstraction API. In the end developers will have a much easier time dealing with new input modalities and end users can have better user experiences.