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W3C drafts standard for touch-based web apps

updated 11:30 am EST, Fri January 28, 2011

W3C readies standard for web UI on phones, tablets

The W3C standards group today put out a draft of a standard for using touchscreen devices on the web. Touch Events would have a page react depending on conditions unique to the mouse-free environment, such as whether or or more fingers are in contact with the screen, dragging across the screen or entering a certain part of the page. The format can also factor in the width of the contact point, such as a hand, and can work with pressure-sensitive touchscreens.

The format, edited by Doug Schepers, uses Apple's Safari and WebKit approaches as a starting point and has mostly added things like pressure to accommodate different kinds of touchscreens. As a draft, the Touch Events spec is still distant from being finalized and incorporated into the official W3C standards.

Adoption of the technology could be critical to web apps translating to touch-only devices. While most web actions work properly on a phone or tablet, it's currently impossible to hover over an element or to use multi-touch gestures specific to a website. One of the primary hurdles that led to Apple at least initially rejecting Flash was the absence of Flash content optimized for tablets. Most Flash games and some videos either assume a mouse and keyboard are present or have elements that are too small for fingers. [via CNET]



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2009

    +2

    Great!

    If past history is any indication, that means we'll have a final draft in about 2017, by which time the different browsers will implement whatever they like and we'll have competing, browser-specific versions which will never actually be completely abandoned in favor of the actual standard. Oh, and Google and Microsoft will probably try to actively sabotage the standard because it's based on Apple's ideas.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: Great!

    Oh, and Google and Microsoft will probably try to actively sabotage the standard because it's based on Apple's ideas.


    Since Chrome uses WebKit, I doubt they'll be actively sabotaging the standard.

    Oh, and...

    While most web actions work properly on a phone or tablet, it's currently impossible to hover over an element or to use multi-touch gestures specific to a website

    It's also impossible to drag-drop content around on a web site. Makes it kind of hard to use some web-based apps, or do simple things like move mail around.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2008

    0

    comment title

    It's also impossible to drag-drop content around on a web site.

    Eeek... don't tell Panic that!

    http://www.panic.com
    (hint: upper-right)

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2009

    -1

    Re: Re: Great!

    Since Chrome uses WebKit, I doubt they'll be actively sabotaging the standard.

    Except that this standard necessarily involves Javascript, which means that Google Chrome (which uses Google's V8 Javascript engine) can quite easily have different implementation details from Safari (which uses Apple's Nitro Javascript engine). Using Webkit hasn't stopped Google from trying to sabotage HTML5 by trying to link it to an inferior video standard which they own, now has it?

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