Microsoft Is Going Ahead And Rebuilding Edge Browser Atop Chromium

Microsoft Is Going Ahead And Rebuilding Edge Browser Atop Chromium

In response to Microsoft's announcement, Google said it welcomes the Windows maker to the open source community.

Now, it is being killed off in favour of a new browser that uses the same open source "Chromium" code as Google's Chrome browser and its ChromeOS software for netbooks.

Mozilla says that Microsoft is "officially giving up" on an independent shared platform for the internet.

Unknown was whether Microsoft would keep the Edge name or give the browser a new name and whether the user interface between Edge and Anaheim would differ.

The new Edge won't be a Universal Windows Platform app in order to make it usable outside of Windows 10, which accounts for about half of all Windows installations. Edge is going to be rebuilt in Chromium, a change that will happen under the hood and will mostly go unnoticed by users. Web developers won't have to worry about testing their sites on yet another platform.

"[Browser engines] determine core capabilities such as which content we as consumers can see, how secure we are when we watch content, and how much control we have over what websites and services can do to us", Beard wrote in a blog post on Thursday. The company also says that it plans to become a "significant contributor" to the Chromium project. An Edge preview using the open source Chromium technologies is expected to show up in "early 2019" as part of the Microsoft Edge Insider Program for test builds.

It has been a very long time since Microsoft launched an official browser for the Mac (over 15 years!), and here we are in 2018 and looking ahead to a bright, Microsoft Edge future.

Compared to the endlessly mocked Internet Explorer, Edge is a totally serviceable, relatively sleek piece of software, but the fact is that web developers simply weren't going to go out of their way to ensure that their websites would run flawlessly on the platform when almost 70% of the planet uses Chrome.

Microsoft decided with this release that they'd be sending Edge to Apple computers, too. It will also be bringing the browsers to more platforms, including Windows 7, 8 and macOS. Beyond that, Edge will be coming to MacOS for the first time. Average users will find Edge to be more compatible than ever before. Presently, Microsoft doesn't support those use cases. We do expect to offer a new WebView that apps can choose to use based on the new rendering engine. The Chromium Blink engine is generally better supported by sites, even if EdgeHTML had some impressive optimizations for Windows 10. Likely that's the plan, although Microsoft hasn't specifically said so, at least in recent public announcements. The team noted that its past practice of shipping Edge improvements with full Windows 10 releases had just "slowed our ability to update, causing platform fragmentation and exposing compatibility gaps", which is something it wants to avoid. From Microsoft's perspective, this move will foster better compatibility on the web.

Microsoft's decision to change browser engines in mid-flight demonstrates the difficulty of matching the pace of active open source projects.