Tracking implementations as part of specs


You know that thing where you find a really encouraging specification, and you go and write a bunch of code against it, only to find that your browser doesn’t implement it, no browser implements it, nobody’s written a polyfill for it, and the editors aren’t even really sure it’s a good idea? (Or, on the flip side, that it’s an ivory-tower pipe dream from the W3C circa 2003, nobody has even glanced at it in over a decade, and it never even could have been implemented, like some legacy CSS and Semantic Web specs?)

This would be for that, and also for potential editors: basically a live embed inline for each clause of a specification that takes all the best parts of (specifically its automated tests), (specifically its tracking of vendor signals and consensus), and MDN compatibility tables (specifically the in-depth documentation of quirks across versions).

This could also link to notes on discussions of each section, and stuff like specs or non-standard practices that have superseded it.

See also:

Thinning the W3C boilerplate for specs

As a concrete example, a section like this would help a web developer realize that they shouldn’t base their animation system on SVG SMIL, because it had very little uptake among content authors, and was eventually deprecated on that basis due to its redundancy with things like CSS Animation.

I think it might be useful to maintain this as a spec-adjacent wiki that includes an embed of caniuse. Actually, linking to the MDN (or page for a spec might honestly be the most straightforward way to solve this.


In webperf, we started to link to caniuse, such as High Resolution Time. We do suffer the problem that it’s not always up-to-date either, eg Navigation Timing Level 2 isn’t reflected yet in caniuse. Art Barstow recently rewrote the set of articles on MDN for Web performance but we haven’t integrated those yet.