Firefox will support non-standard CSS for WebKit compatibility

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Thomas the Tank Engine

Plans are afoot for Firefox to work with pre-complete web standards as implemented in rivals’ browsers.


Mozilla developers have revealed a plan to implement support for a subset of non-standard CSS prefixes used in WebKit, –webkit.


Changes are planned for either Firefox 46 or 47, set to be released around April and May.


WebKit is the layout engine employed by Apple’s Safari and forked in Chromium-browsers from Google and Opera. The plan to work with non-Mozilla CSS prefixes seems intended to make Firefox capable of working with both the legacy and the mobile web.


Browser-specific prefixes for standards are a tool that have been employed by browser makers and developers to continue their work with new standards on leading-edge areas while the standards themselves are are being thrashed out.


Prefixes mean that rather than awaiting the outcome of a slow-paced standards process, browser makers and devs can press on with their work. The idea is the prefix is removed upon the standard’s completion.


However, it seems people haven’t bothered to clean house and remove the prefixes upon completion of CSS, at least, leading to the continued existence of browser-specific prefixes across the web.






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Biggest issue with WebKit is that they implemented these properties early (Good), they iterated on them to fix issues (Great), but then never actually deprecated the outdated versions or moved to the standards compliant versions (Awful). Safari only gained support the standards compliant CSS Transforms this year, something other browsers have been shipping for years (IE beat Safari here, it gained it in 2012), and Apple were the ones that proposed it in the first place.


The downside to these non-standard properties existing for so long, is that developers come to depend on them, because they have much better support than the standard variants. And devs seem to have the idea in their heads that the standard properties are just the WebKit ones without the prefixes, when that's often not the case (The website for the Firewatch game is a good example, they've done it as WebKit first and copied the declarations across for other browsers, but they've used a non-standard WebKit syntax to start with, so other browsers just reject it). Issues like that are why Microsoft and Mozilla are doing this, because no amount of developer outreach seems to fix it, and Apple isn't helping.

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  • 3 weeks later...
+Red King

I would never use something non-standard, not sure what other developers were smoking.

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