HTML5 Cross-Browser Polyfills 101

The web is evolving quite quickly nowadays. Every day you see new languages, frameworks and tools. However, the developers have to move just as quickly as their slowest user. Let’s dive into the world of the newest changes and developments in the tech industry!

What Are Polyfills?

The polyfill is a replica of a native API that uses non-native code. Briefly put, they patch up older browsers with the missing features we need today. If the feature is already present in the browser, then the polyfill lets it do its job. If not, it steps in and plugs the missing item.

What Kind of Features Does It Replace?

Back in 2009, we saw the release of the ECMAScript. This was a huge step forward for developing language. In 2015, again we saw a huge update for this language. Features keep coming to this format, and it’s hard to keep up with all the browsers. It’s enough to have a look at the latest release for Chrome and compare it to Internet Explorer 9. You will see that there are lots of features missing from the IE, and it supports no ES6 features.

Polyfills or Transpiling

If you have a look at the features supported by the browsers, you will see that you have to transpile your code. From the new syntax, you will obtain some classic ECMAScript 5. If you want to use rest and spread parameterse, async/await, classes, arrow functions and other things, you have to transpile the ES6 code into ES5. Thankfully, there is a tool for that called Babel.


Now you’ve seen what polyfills are and how useful they prove to be if you’re using an older browser version. They are indeed a remarkable advancement of technology and many people truly appreciate them.

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