Microsoft Edge is the default web browser developed by Microsoft but it has become more powerful with the help of Chromium. Before jumping onto the edge browser let us see the era of browsers that was developed by Microsoft.
Internet Explorer – Did you remember me?
Thomas Reardon developed this awesome browser on 1995 and each year we had consecutive releases. By 2003, it was one of the most popular browser used by the developers as well as for the end users. But at some point of time, the performance of internet explorer was not that good and also certain web application functionalities and styling was not supporting in Internet Explorer. And also it was not supporting the latest version of HTML.
To solve these problems, Microsoft officially announced Edge as default Web browser on Windows 10 replacing Internet Explorer 11. It supports the latest version of HTML. But however, Internet Explorer will still exist in all the windows machines.
But microsoft edge also had some performance issue like the same IE11. So Microsoft they came up with the New Edge Browser which makes use of Chromium.
The New Microsoft Edge – Chromium
Last December, Microsoft announced that the next major version of Edge will be backed of chromium. They are also very sure that not only to adopt chromium, but also become a significant contributor to that project that will not just make Edge better on Windows and other devices, but all chromium based browsers and frameworks as well. They have mainly addressed the following points while developing this new Microsoft edge chromium.
- Web capabilities are inconsistent across browsers.
- Fragmentation across OS versions increases test and dev cost.
- Long update intervals create capability gaps and prevent rapid bug fixes.
- Web apps need flexibility to use only web standards or mix web with native.
- Web-views need access to the latest web features with options for app compat.
- Developer tools should be consistent across all web content and platforms
Web capabilities are inconsistent across browsers
Basically when we develop a feature in one browser and when we go and test in others, we find that a capability you needed isn’t consistently supported in all browsers.
This made the developers to decide whether to re-implement the feature in two different way or to just not use this technology that you wanted to use.
But using chromium edge browser, we can make sure that you’re able to rely on a more consistent set of web capabilities across more browsers and your users don’t face any issues in the edge. In the below image, you can see IE journey in dark blue and the current version of edge in light blue.
Brace Yourselves! The next version of Edge is represented by the top green line of chromium-based browsers.
Fragmentation across OS version increases test and dev cost
Edge currently is only supported on Windows 10 and so if you develop application on MAC, its going to be very difficult to test it in the edge browser. But a year and half ago edge was made available on iOS and Android.
And the coolest thing is the next major version of Edge is supported across multiple platforms that you use. Now it makes more comfortable such that you can easily develop and test your applications in which ever platform you want.
Long update intervals create capability gaps and prevent rapid bugfixes
For now Edge approximately do feature updates for every six months but most of the browsers usually ship major features as early as every six weeks.
But the next major version of Edge will ship at a much faster cadence and you will be able to install side by side up to four different channels of Edge on any supported OS.
- They released Canary channel last month and it will be updated daily.
- They also released Dev channel last month which is updated weekly.
- They havn’t released the beta and stable version of edge(Expected ASAP).
- The updated for BETA would be for every six weeks and also for Stable it would be for every six weeks.
Web apps need flexibility to use only web standards or mix web with native
Microsoft started their web application journey in Windows 10, with Windows Web Applications. As days went by, it evolved to support Hosted Web Apps and Progressive Web Apps.
The major cons of these apps are they cannot support cross-platform, the host supports inconsistent set of functionality vs. the browser and finally the apps had only limited discoverability.
But with the new Edge they are bringing support for standards based cross-platform web applications. The Progressive Web apps will access capabilities via web-standards, run in a browser-based host and also it will be discoverable and installable from the browser.
Web Views need access to the latest web features, with options for app compat
Today developers have a wide range of choice to write their native applications such as on Windows, you can create a Win32 or a UWP application. At times developers want to use a simple webview control or want to reuse the components.
But the major cons of these are they support across Win32 and UWP apps are inconsistent and the WebView support was fragemented.
But the new webView control will always be up to date with the latest browser version and also it’ll be consistent across all versions of windows and also it will be available across both Win32 and UWP apps.
Developer tools should be consistent across all web content and platforms
With the new Edge all the developer tools will be consistently maintained across all web content and platforms because most of the web browsers uses chromium.
Microsoft Loves Chromium
While Microsoft early in the Chromium journey, they wanted to start by sharing how warmly they’ve been welcomed into the community by chromium engineers and other browser vendors in this project. And while they’re still ramping up in that code-base, they’ve already some modest and also some meaningful changes.
Including landing almost 400 commits into Chromium since December announcement.
These are some cool interesting features introduced in Microsoft Edge which will make your life and development easier.
You can download Microsoft edge using the below link,
Hail Microsoft! Cheers!