Microsoft Edge: New Browser on the Block
The new browser that will replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10 has been called “Project Spartan” during its earliest development phase. But now it has an official name – “Edge.” At Microsoft’s Build 2015 developer conference, held during the first week of May, the company unveiled Edge completely. Here's what you can expect in the newest web browser...
What is Microsoft Edge?
“Out with the old, in with the new” describes the evolution of Edge pretty well. Internet Explorer has accumulated a lot of baggage during its two decades. IE contains a lot of code that only a few specialized legacy applications need. All of that is being left out of Edge, saving more than 220,000 lines of code so far.
Edge will not support Microsoft's ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects (BHOS), VBScript and third-party toolbars built for Internet Explorer. All of these things degraded performance and posed security risks. Edge will support PDF and Adobe Flash, as other browsers do.
Edge will be much more standards-compliant than IE ever was. That should result in faster and more innovative Web designs because developers won’t have to write code for multiple browsers.
While Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10, Internet Explorer will still be included for those who need it. Microsoft will provide security updates for IE but no new features or improvements. (And of course, users will be able to install alternative web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.)
Ditching the legacy code of IE freed Microsoft developers to create a faster, richer browser. In benchmark tests using Google’s Canary tool, the current build of Edge ran twice as fast as IE 11, and even beat the latest 64-bit versions of Firefox and Chrome. Over 4,200 interoperability improvements have been made to Edge so far, making the rendering of pages across different devices more uniform.
Extensions will be supported in Edge, finally. This will allow third-party developers to customize and improve the Edge experience on specific sites, and add functions that users want.
Anticipating Your Next Move
Edge tries hard to be helpful, too. It is tightly integrated with Bing (although another default search engine can be specified) and with Cortana, Microsoft’s artificially intelligent “personal digital assistant.” If you visit a restaurant’s Web page, Edge will compile information such as driving directions, hours of operation, reservation phone number, etc., and display it at the click of a button. You can also highlight content on a Web page, right-click, and “ask Cortana” for more information about the highlighted stuff. The more you work with Cortana, the more accurate it becomes in anticipating your information needs.
Edge users can also annotate Web pages, adding typed notes or pointer-drawn figures to pages they’re viewing. These annotations are saved locally and reloaded when the page is visited again. Annotated pages can be shared with other Edge users.
We now have a more complete vision of Microsoft’s next-generation browser, and it looks pretty exciting. Edge requires Windows 10, which won’t be released until sometime this summer. Not all of the features described above will be in the first release of Edge, but Microsoft promises that Edge will be complete by year’s end.
Most of the features that will ship later in the year are primarlily of interest to web and app developers. Among them are support for Edge extensions, Object RTC (the ability to easily integrate voice and video chat into almost any application), Pointer Lock (a programming interface that allows the use of the mouse to perform complex operations) and "many new app and platform features."
I've tried Edge in pre-release versions of Windows 10. It has a nice clean look, seems to load pages fast, and renders them as expected. It's the first new browser written from scratch in quite a while, and it will pose a threat to competing browsers. Will Windows 10 users be content with Edge, or will they use it only to download Firefox or Google Chrome? That remains to be seen...
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 May 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Microsoft Edge: New Browser on the Block (Posted: 11 May 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved