In response to the rapid feature releases across web platforms, Google announced its latest concept, “Baseline”, at Google I/O in May earlier this year.
Read on to explore how to leverage Baseline 2023 and what to expect for next year!
Baseline is an initiative by Google aimed at providing a clear reference point for developers and site owners on whether web platform features are ready to be safely adopted.
It functions as a standardized marker, offering real-time insights into the availability and support of various features across browsers.
Using Baseline, development teams and site owners can better assess when it’s viable to integrate new features into their projects, allowing for a fast decision-making process.
The Baseline project didn’t come to be overnight.
In fact, developers started talking about their pain points and the lack of clarity around new browser features and APIs as early as 2021.
In short, developers had to make sense of all the moving pieces like standards, browsers, frameworks, APIs, CMSs, and more on their own.
To better differentiate between experimental features and stable content, Google streamlined their information across several platforms:
Additionally, Google teamed up with partners from other browser vendors and formed the WebDX Community Group to work on a feature set, allowing for better web platform feature categorization and support status.
Originally, Baseline was meant to include features once they become available for current and previous versions of all major browsers—Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.
After the dev community outlined a big gap in this approach, Baseline was redefined to reflect two key points in the lifecycle of a feature:
The core browser set is now also expanded to include mobile versions, meaning for a feature to become part of Baseline, it needs to be available in:
Thanks to the newly introduced iteration, Baseline will help developers and stakeholders better prepare for when new features become widely available for larger audiences making feature adoption much easier than before.
In less than eight months, the Baseline initiative has not only gained traction among in-house teams but also the recognition of the web development community.
To further enable the project’s momentum, Google pushed Baseline’s integration with Can I Use on December 12th– the place where you can find up-to-date browser support tables for support of front-end web technologies on desktop and mobile web browsers.
Some pages in the Can I Use website now feature “widely available” and “newly available” badges, along with the year that they became available.
Some of the notable performance-related features in Baseline 2023 are:
In 2024, the initiative has set a goal to popularize the Baseline status and display it across MDN, web.dev, and developer.chrome.com.
Google’s team shares the following information:
“...we need to map all of the features of the web platform in the Web Features dataset. This work is still ongoing, and we expect to be complete during 2024.”
MDN is already working on the Baseline badges and slowly rolling them out for pages on the platform.
Lora has 7+ years of experience developing in-depth, specialized content for SaaS companies in the CEE region. She has sourced and collaborated with subject-matter experts on site speed optimization for WordPress, Core Web Vitals, and the future of web performance. "If you can't explain it to a 7-year-old, you've not researched it well enough" is Lora's guiding principle when publishing professional insight for complex technical topics.