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Google to Implement “Pointer Events” In Chrome for Better Scrolling

March 26, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

We all have our issues with Chrome. But it looks like one of those issues is finally going to be addressed. According to a Google Group post, it appears that Google is going to be addressing the horrible scrolling in Chrome, on all platforms. And it will do so using Pointer Events. Which is something that Microsoft implemented into Internet Explorer quite a while ago. Google has always supported Touch Events, which is also what Apple supports in their Safari web browser. But now Google is going to be joining Microsoft and Mozilla with supporting Pointer Events. The company cites the web community as the reason for their change of hearts.

Google adding support for Pointer Events means that scrolling and touch interactions should be greatly improved on Chrome. Rick Byers from Google stated, “replacing all touch event handlers with point event handlers will address the main longstanding source of scroll-start jank we see on Android.”Obviously, users won’t see these improvements immediately, as it takes time for Google to build in the support and test the Pointer Events through nightlies and weekly versions of Chrome. We’ve seen Google and Microsoft disagree on a ton of things before, including YouTube for Windows Phone, and there was that whole Scroogled Campaign by Microsoft. However, it is nice to finally see the two of them agree on something like Pointer Events. Which is a standard that Microsoft invented. Additionally, Byers stated “Jacob Rossi on the IE team has been very helpful” when assisting Google’s Chrome team in implementing the Pointer Events standard alongside the existing Touch Events support with threatening the performance.

For those unaware of what Pointer Events is, it’s a standard that was created to redeuce the cost of coding to multiple input types and also to help with mouse events. As most of you likely know, Chrome is used on Desktops, laptops, as well as smartphones and tablets. So we have both touch screens as well as input devices like mice. The model of Pointer Events makes it easier to write sites and applications that work well no matter what hardware the users has.