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Caniuse and MDN compatibility data collaboration

September 10th, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Second only to “silly GIFs,” I’d guess screenshots of caniuse are the most common slide graphic at web conferences. It’s become the ultimate source for looking at web compatibility data in the hearts and minds of web developers.

Can I use CSS filter in Firefox? Yes. Can I use the filter() function? No.

But of course, MDN has incredible web platform documentation that also includes compatibility data. So it’s nice to see them collaborate. And not just theoretically — it’s already happening.

Florian Scholz and Alexis Deveria:

Before we began our collaboration, the caniuse website only displayed results for features available in the caniuse database. Now all search results can include support tables for MDN compat data. This includes data types already found on caniuse, specifically the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Web API, SVG & and HTTP categories. By adding MDN data, the caniuse support table count expands from roughly 500 to 10,500 tables! Developers’ caniuse queries on what’s supported where will now have significantly more results.

Massive upgrade, already live on the site. I absolutely love real collaboration like this when it actually happens. I remember back in 2012 when WebPlatform.org launched and every single major web company gave lip service that they were going to contribute and consolidate their documentation there. Sounded too good to be true. Launched before that work actually happened. Died unglamorously a few years later.

The caniuse database, I believe, is basically this 2MB JSON file on GitHub. We use that right here on CSS-Tricks. We pull it in and use the data in it to display our support tables, crediting caniuse while we do it.

Here’s backdrop-filter:

This browser support data is from Caniuse, which has more detail. A number indicates that browser supports the feature at that version and up.


Chrome Opera Firefox IE Edge Safari
76 No No No 17 9*

Mobile / Tablet

iOS Safari Opera Mobile Opera Mini Android Android Chrome Android Firefox
9.0-9.2* No No No No No

It doesn’t sound like the MDN data is going to make its way into that JSON, so I guess my big hope is that that dataset continues to be updated, or that if it is someday replaced, it is in a place that is similarly easy to access.

I totally get why they are just combining the data sources out of the gate, as MDN digs into individual features in a way that caniuse typically doesn’t. For example, the individual values for justify-content are super complicated!

I imagine that kind of detail might require a deeper architectural change that wasn’t right for a Version 1 integration.

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