Facebook's Ringmark Is a Browser Compatibility Benchmark for the Mobile Web

The new benchmark checks whether features apps need are supported

Facebook announced a new initiative to spur work on a new set of mobile web standards designed specifically for applications. It's joined by several major browser makers, Microsoft, Opera and Mozilla, as well as other partners.

At the same time, it also debuted Ringmark, a compatibility benchmark designed to test how prepared for the mobile web a browser is. It's not a performance benchmark, rather it checks to see whether the browser it's running on supports various features deemed necessary for mobile web apps.

The tests don't focus on one technology in particular, rather they check for features, HTML5 Canvas, various CSS3 attributes, APIs for camera or sensor access and so on.

"Ringmark, developed together with Bocoup, helps you understand which mobile browsers support the functionality your app needs," Facebook wrote.

"Ringmark is comprised of tests of core functionality that web developers need in order to build their apps. For example, orientation lock, which is important for games. Another example is camera functionality for social apps," it added.

"While helping mobile browser vendors test key features, it can also help them prioritize features by providing a clear road map for what is important for developers," it said.

Ringmark gets its name from the levels of functionality, grouped in "rings," that its makers believed belonged together. For example, Ring 0 contains just basic features that any web app should need at the minimum. Most modern mobile browsers should and do pass this level of tests.

Ring 1 tests for more advanced functionality and, at this point, browsers have trouble with many of the tests in this level. For Ring 1, Facebook focused on things apps like 2D games, music and video apps, as well as camera apps would need to work properly.

Once browsers reach the point where they can support most if not all of the features in this level, a new one will be added.

Facebook and Boucoup, which worked on Ringmark together, will open source the test suite soon. For now, you can check it out in action over at rng.io and see how your browser fares.

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