I think these changes move in a positive direction with respect to clearly
taking into consideration other browser vendors' views on features that Chrome
wants to ship, and I regard them as an improvement.
However, they do create a duplicate of processes already in place in the
standards groups. While this may be needed needed in cases where Chrome is
moving faster than the relevant specs, it's not needed in cases where the spec
is ahead and Chrome devs merely want to implement such consensus-backed specs.
For example, a CR spec issued by CSSWG implicitly has the backing of the
entire CSSWG, including all major browser vendors: if it didn't, the
resolution to transition to CR would not go through. This signal is worth
recording, and soliciting individual signals from each vendor becomes
considerably less necessary. Similarly, CSSWG has in place a process to take
resolutions on features that are not yet in a CR draft, officially clearing
them for shipping in implementations. The discussion triggered by such
requests helps to bring to light any significant unsolved issues and concerns
that members know about, that could significantly impact an implementation or
create undesirable Web-compat issues should an implementation ship the
currently-specced features. I'm sure TC39 and other groups have similar
Not taking even explicit WG positions, such as issuing an official call for
implementations, into consideration duplicates existing discussions in the
case of features which have already passed these thresholds. Skipping out of
triggering those official discussions in favor of bilateral queries also
shifts discussion around generating consensus around features from
vendor-neutral standards fora with broader participation to vendor-specific
fora with narrower participation, which undermines the vendor-neutral
To the extent that Chrome occasionally wishes to override outcomes of such
processes for some reason, or in topic areas where a functioning standards
group does not exist, it makes sense. But in the general case, I believe
Chrome wants to participate in standards as the best Web citizen it can be,
and not taking recognized standards processes into consideration in its ITS
procedures does not serve that goal.
Chris Harrelson wrote on 2020-03-26 to blink-api-owners-discuss in
“Formalizing signals from other browsers in intent-to-ship”:
> I think we need to strictly formalize what is allowed to be put in the
"signals" section of an intent-to-ship. The reason is that:
> * Representatives of other browsers do not want to be (even accidentally)
> * It causes them to be cautious when responding to requests for feedback on
features, thinking it might become a signal
> I suggest we have five possible values: No Signals, Positive, Neutral,
Negative, and Shipped/Shipping.
> For each other major browser, we list an explicit method to get signals
different than No Signals. e.g. from Mozilla, we say that you need to file a
standards-positions issue and wait for response. For WebKit you need to email
webkit-dev and wait for a response from one of the WebKit leads. If a feature
is shipped or about to ship, just find out in what version it is shipped/will
be shipping and says so with a quick link to evidence.
> These steps are not strictly required. It's ok to say No Signals in your
intent, though API owners will ask for evidence of outreach etc. as usual.
It'll just not be ok to say Positive without the above steps.
> Any other relevant data regarding comments from other browser vendors in
public settings can be added as context or evidence for
outreach/consensus-building as part of shipping (e.g. a CSSWG resolution is
useful data), so long as it is not construed to influence the "signals"
statement of a particular browser.
Chris Harrelson wrote on 2020-05-26 to blink-dev in “Important: change to the
"browser signals" section of the intent-to-ship process”:
> TL;DR: new intents-to-ship will need a more formalized "other
implementation signals" section in place of today's "browser signals". This
will require some explicit actions for Gecko and WebKit, as well as allowing
time for their response.