Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge logo (2019).svg
Microsoft Edge (Chromium) on Windows 10, using the dark theme (as opposed to the light theme)
Microsoft Edge (Chromium) on Windows 10, using the dark theme (as opposed to the light theme)
Developer(s)Microsoft
Initial releaseJuly 29, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-07-29)
Stable release(s) [±]
Windows 7, 8, 8.1 & 1079.0.309.71 / January 22, 2020; 1 day ago (2020-01-22)[1]
Windows 10 Mobile40.15254.603 / January 14, 2020; 9 days ago (2020-01-14)
Xbox One40.15063.0 / March 29, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-03-29)[2]
Android44.11.4.4122 / January 8, 2020; 15 days ago (2020-01-08)[3]
iOS44.11.15 / January 18, 2020; 5 days ago (2020-01-18)[4]
macOS79.0.309.71 / January 22, 2020; 1 day ago (2020-01-22)[5]
Preview release(s) [±]
EdgeHTML (Windows 10)44.18894.1000 / May 8, 2019; 8 months ago (2019-05-08)
Chromium Beta Channel (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 & macOS)80.0.361.33 / January 22, 2020; 1 day ago (2020-01-22)
Chromium Dev Channel (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 & macOS)81.0.389.2 / January 22, 2020; 1 day ago (2020-01-22)
Chromium Canary Channel (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 & macOS)81.0.401.0 / January 22, 2020; 1 day ago (2020-01-22)
Engines
Operating systemiOS, Android, Xbox One System Software, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, macOS
Included withWindows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox One System Software
LicenseProprietary software;[8] a component of Windows 10
Websitewww.microsoft.com/en-us/edge

Microsoft Edge is a web browser developed by Microsoft. It was first released for Windows 10 and Xbox One in 2015, then for Android and iOS in 2017,[9][10] and for macOS in 2019.[11]

Edge includes integration with Cortana and has extensions hosted on the Microsoft Store. Unlike Internet Explorer, Edge does not support the legacy ActiveX and BHO technologies.

Originally built with Microsoft's own EdgeHTML and Chakra engines, in 2019 Edge was rebuilt as a Chromium-based browser,[12][13] using the Blink and V8 engines. As part of this change (codenamed Anaheim), Microsoft has made the preview builds of Chromium-based Edge available on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and macOS, in addition to Windows 10.[14] Microsoft released the first Chromium-based Edge version on January 15, 2020.[15]

According to StatCounter, in August 2019 Edge overtook the market share of Internet Explorer (IE) on PC, Edge in fourth place and IE in fifth. While IE's share dropped, no single version of Edge is more popular than Internet Explorer 11. The market share for Edge remains low, with IE following in this trend. However, combining the market share of Edge and IE, Microsoft's browsers are third place in PC browser market share, Chrome being first and Firefox second. Mobile versions of Edge exist for Android and iOS, however they have little to no market share. On Microsoft consoles, Edge replaced IE as the dominant browser a few months after its release in 2015.[16]

Market share varies by region. On some days of the week, Edge takes second place with a 10.02% share in the US on PC, and Firefox and Edge have very similar share globally, switch places for second and third rank depending on the day.[17][18][19]

Features[edit]

Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and Xbox One consoles, replacing Internet Explorer 11 and Internet Explorer Mobile.[20] As its development and release is dependent on the model of Windows as a service, it is not included in Windows 10 Enterprise Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) builds.[21][22][23]

Microsoft initially announced that Edge would support the legacy Trident (MSHTML) layout engine for backwards compatibility, but later said that, due to "strong feedback", Edge would use a new engine, while Internet Explorer would continue to provide the legacy engine.[24]

Favorites, reading list, browsing history and downloads are viewed at the Hub,[25] a sidebar providing functionality similar to Internet Explorer's Downloads manager and Favorites Center.[26]

The browser includes an integrated Adobe Flash Player (with an internal whitelist allowing Flash applets on Facebook websites to load automatically, bypassing all other security controls requiring user activation)[27] and a PDF reader. It also supports asm.js.[28]

Edge does not support legacy technologies such as ActiveX and Browser Helper Objects, and instead uses an extension system.[6][29][30]

Internet Explorer 11 remains available alongside Edge on Windows 10 for compatibility; it remains nearly identical to the Windows 8.1 version and does not use the Edge engine as was previously announced.[6][20][29]

Edge integrates with Microsoft's online platforms in order to provide voice control, search functionality, and dynamic information related to searches within the address bar. Users can make annotations to web pages that can be stored to and shared with OneDrive,[31] but can't save HTML pages to their own computers. It also integrates with the "Reading List" function and provides a "Reading Mode" that strips unnecessary formatting from pages to improve their legibility.[31]

Preliminary support for browser extensions was added in March 2016, with build 14291; three extensions were initially supported. Microsoft indicated that the delay in allowing extensions and the small number was due to security concerns.[32]

EdgeHTML[edit]

Microsoft Edge logo, used from 2015–2019.

EdgeHTML was the proprietary layout engine originally developed for Edge. It was a fork of Trident which removed all legacy code of older versions of Internet Explorer, with the majority of its source code rewritten to support web standards and interoperability with other modern browsers.[33][34] EdgeHTML was written in C++.[35]

The rendering engine was first released as an experimental option in Internet Explorer 11 as part of the Windows 10 Preview 9926 build.[36]

EdgeHTML was meant to be fully compatible with the WebKit layout engine used by Safari, Chrome, and other browsers. Microsoft stated their original acceptance criteria: "Any Edge–WebKit differences are bugs that we’re interested in fixing."[37]

A review of the engine in the beta Windows 10 build by AnandTech found substantial benchmark improvements over Trident, particularly JavaScript engine performance, which had come up to par with that of Google Chrome.[38] Other benchmarks focusing on the performance of the WebGL API found EdgeHTML to perform much better than Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.[39]

As of 2019, the most recent version of Edge based on EdgeHTML failed both the Acid2 and Acid3 tests for web standards. Microsoft has since announced that EdgeHTML will be replaced as the browser engine for Edge by Blink, which is based on Chromium.[citation needed]

HTML5 standards[edit]

Edge originally lacked support for open media standards such as WebM and Opus, but these were later added in Edge 14.14291.[40]

As of September 2019, Edge 17 had scored 492/555 on HTML5test, whereas Firefox 59 scored 491/555, Firefox 69 scored 513/555 and Chrome 66 scored 528/555.[41]

Chromium-based Edge: Release channels, cycles and updates[edit]

The Chromium-based Microsoft Edge has four channels overall: Canary, Dev (short for Developer), Beta, and Stable. Microsoft collectively calls the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels the "Microsoft Edge Insider Channels", as these are preview builds.[42]

Development[edit]

EdgeHTML (2014–2019)[edit]

In December 2014, writing for ZDNet, technology writer Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft was developing a new web browser codenamed "Spartan" for Windows 10. She said that "Spartan" would be treated as a new product separate from Internet Explorer, with Internet Explorer 11 retained alongside it for compatibility.[43]

In early January 2015 The Verge obtained further details surrounding "Spartan" from sources close to Microsoft, including reports that it would replace Internet Explorer on both the desktop and mobile versions of Windows 10.[44] Microsoft officially unveiled "Spartan" during a Windows 10-focused keynote on January 21, 2015.[31] It was described as a separate product from Internet Explorer; its final name was not announced.[45]

"Spartan" was first made publicly available as the default browser of Windows 10 Technical Preview build 10049, released on March 30, 2015.[46] The new engine used by "Spartan" was available in Windows 10 builds as part of Internet Explorer 11; Microsoft later announced that Internet Explorer would be deprecated on Windows 10, and would not use the "Spartan" engine.[20][47]

On April 29, 2015, during the Build Conference keynote, it was announced that "Spartan" would officially be known as Microsoft Edge.[48] The browser's logo and branding was designed to maintain continuity with the branding of Internet Explorer.[49] The Project "Spartan" branding was used in versions released after Build 2015. On June 25, Microsoft released version 19.10149 for Windows 10 Mobile which included the new brand. On June 28, version 20.10158 followed for the desktop versions, also including the updated branding. On July 15, Microsoft released version 20.10240 as the final release to Insiders. The same version was rolled out to consumers on July 29.

On August 12, Microsoft started the preview program for the next version of Microsoft Edge. They released version 20.10512 to Mobile-users. 6 days later followed by version 20.10525 for desktop users. The preview received multiple updates. On November 5, 2015, Microsoft released version 25.10586 as the final release for Edge's second public release for desktop users. On November 12, the update was rolled out to both desktop users and Xbox One users as part of the New Xbox Experience Update. On November 18, the update was to Windows 10 Mobile. Finally, on November 19, the update was also made available as part of the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4.[citation needed]

In November 2017, Microsoft released ports of Edge for Android and iOS. The apps feature integration and synchronization with the desktop version on Windows 10 PCs. Due to platform restrictions and other factors, these ports do not use the same layout engine as the desktop version, and instead use OS-native Webkit-based engines.[50][51][7]

In April 2018, Edge added tab audio muting.[52] In June 2018, support for the Web Authentication specifications were added to Windows Insider builds, with support for Windows Hello and external security tokens.[53][54]

Chromium (2019–present)[edit]

On December 6, 2018, Microsoft announced its intent to base Edge on the Chromium source code, using the same rendering engine as Google Chrome but with enhancements developed by Microsoft. It was also announced that there will be versions of Edge available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and macOS, and that all versions will be updated on a more frequent basis.[55][56]

A developer preview of the Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge on Windows

On April 8, 2019, the first Chromium-based builds of Edge for Windows were released to the public.[57]

A public preview of Microsoft Edge on macOS

On May 20, 2019, the first Chromium-based preview builds of Edge for macOS were released to the public, marking the first time in 13 years that a Microsoft browser was available on the Mac platform.[58] The last time a Microsoft browser was available on the Mac platform was Microsoft Internet Explorer for Mac, which was withdrawn in January, 2006.

On June 2019 IAmA post on Reddit, an Edge developer stated that it was theoretically possible for a Linux version to be developed in the future, but no work had actually started on that possibility.[59]

On June 19, 2019, Microsoft made its Chromium-powered Edge browser available on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 for testing.[60]

On August 20, 2019, Microsoft made its first beta build for Chromium-based Edge browser available. The beta marks a major milestone, as it is the final stage before the stable version is available. The beta is available for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and macOS.[61]

August 2019 also saw the removal of support for the EPUB file format.[62] At Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft released a new version of the Edge logo.[63]

The new Chromium-based Edge was released on January 15, 2020.[64][65]

Release history[edit]

Legend: Old version, not maintained Older version, still maintained Current stable version Latest preview version Future release
Version Browser engine Release date(s) Highlights
Old version, no longer maintained: 20.10240[66] EdgeHTML 12.10240 July 15, 2015

First public release, initial release for PC

  • Support for PDFs
  • Pinnable Hub with Favorites, Download manager, Reading List and History
  • New Tab page with MSN news and search bar
  • Support for inking on webpages
  • Cortana Integration
  • Reading View
  • Dark theme
  • Performance improvements[67]
Old version, no longer maintained: 25.10586[68] EdgeHTML 13.10586 November 5, 2015

Initial release on Windows 10 Mobile and Xbox One

  • Improved render engine with Pointer Lock support, canvas blending modes, asm.js support by default and more
  • Object RTC API[69]
  • Improved tab management
  • Tabs can now be previewed by hovering over them
  • Reading list items and favorites are now synced
  • Updated Settings pane
  • Hub options are now available in the ellipses menu
  • Media Casting
  • Cortana Integration with PDFs
Old version, no longer maintained: 38.14393 EdgeHTML 14.14393 August 2, 2016

Initial release on Windows Holographic

  • Experimental support for VP9
  • Context menu for navigation buttons
  • Improved favorites management
  • Improved download management
  • Pinned tab support added
  • Ability to copy and paste links in Microsoft Edge added
  • Download reminders
  • Default save locations can be changed
  • Favorite Tree View improvements
  • Experimental JavaScript ES6 Regex symbols support
  • New Web Platform features
  • Improved F12 developer tools
  • Improved accessibility
  • Swipe gestures to navigate back and forward
  • Support for Beacon, Web Notifications and Fetch API
  • Official support for browser extensions
  • WOFF 2 fonts
  • Support for Color Fonts formats (sbix, OpenType-SVG, COLR/CPAL, CBDT/CBLC)
Old version, no longer maintained: 40.15063[70][71] EdgeHTML 15.15063 April 11, 2017
  • Added CTRL + O keyboard shortcut to set focus to the address bar
  • Partial implementation of Webkit-Text-Stroke and CSS outline-offset
  • Ability to use Snooze to put a website in a Cortana Reminder to make it show up in the Action Center
  • Ability to import and export favorites from and to a file
  • Improved ES6 Modules debugging in F12 Developer Tools
  • H.264/AVC became enabled by default for RTC
  • Support for WebRTC 1.0 and Service Workers (behind flags)
  • Added support for the EPUB file format
  • The "Snooze" feature has been removed
  • Icons of pages in the hub became larger
  • Console filter settings will persist for buttons and context menu
  • Support for the Brotli compressed data format as an HTTP content-encoding method
  • Updated the MS-prefixed FIDO 2.0 implementation to match the latest W3C Web Authentication specification
  • Partial support for CSS Custom Properties (aka CSS Variables)
  • Preliminary support for the IntersectionObserver API
  • Async/await is enabled by default
  • DOM performance improvements
  • Advanced Tab Management
  • Added support for EPUB/PDF read aloud
Older version, yet still maintained: 41.16299[72][73] EdgeHTML 16.16299 September 26, 2017
Older version, yet still maintained: 42.17134[74][75] EdgeHTML 17.17134 April 30, 2018
Older version, yet still maintained: 44.17763[76][77] EdgeHTML 18.17763 November 13, 2018
  • Support for Autoplay Policies
  • CSS Masking, overflow-wrap and overscroll-behavior support
  • Improvements to Developer Tools
  • WebP image format support
  • Web Authentication API support
  • High-quality kerning pairs and ligatures
  • Promise.prototype.finally support
  • Remove support for e-books that use the EPUB[78]
Older version, yet still maintained: 44.18362 EdgeHTML 18.18362 May 21, 2019
Current stable version: 79.0.309 Blink (Chromium 79) January 15, 2020

Initial release of the Chromium-based version

Latest preview version of a future release: 80.0.361 Blink (Chromium 80) TBA

Current Dev channel

  • Native support for ARM processors
Latest preview version of a future release: 81.0.367 Blink (Chromium 81)

Current Canary channel

Performance[edit]

Early benchmarks of the EdgeHTML engine—included in the first beta release of Edge in Windows 10[79] Build 10049—had drastically better JavaScript performance than Trident 7 in Internet Explorer 11, with similar performance to Google Chrome 41 and Mozilla Firefox 37. In the SunSpider benchmark, Edge performed faster than other browsers,[80] while in other benchmarks it operated slower than Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.[81]

Later benchmarks conducted with the version included in 10122 showed significant performance improvement compared to both IE11 and Edge back in 10049. According to Microsoft's benchmark result, this iteration of Edge performed better than both Chrome and Firefox in Google's Octane 2.0 and Apple's Jetstream benchmark.[82]

In July 2015, Edge scored 377 out of 555 points on the HTML5test. Chrome 44 and Firefox 42 scored 479 and 434 respectively, while Internet Explorer 11 scored 312.[83]

In August 2015, Microsoft released Windows 10 Build 10532 to insiders, which included Edge 21.10532.0. This beta version scored 445 out of 555 points on the HTML5test.[84]

With the release of Windows 10 Build 14390 to insiders in July 2016, the HTML5test score of the browser's development version was 460 out of 555 points. Chrome 51 scored 497, Firefox 47 scored 456, and Safari 9.1 scored 370.[citation needed]

Power efficiency[edit]

In June 2016, Microsoft published benchmark results to prove superior power efficiency of Edge in comparison to all other major web browsers.[85] Opera questioned the accuracy and provided their own test results where Opera came out on top.[86] Independent testing by PC World confirmed Microsoft's results.[87] However, tests conducted by Linus Sebastian contradicted Microsoft's results, instead showing that Chrome has the best battery performance.[88]

Reception[edit]

In an August 2015 review of Windows 10 by Dan Grabham of TechRadar, Microsoft Edge was praised for its performance, despite not being in a feature-complete state at launch.[89] Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica praised the browser for being "tremendously promising", and "a much better browser than Internet Explorer ever was", but criticized it for its lack of functionality on launch.[90] Thom Holwerda of OSNews criticized Edge in August 2015 for its hidden URL bar, lack of user friendliness, poor design and a tab system that is "so utterly broken it should never have shipped in a final release". He described the browser's implemented features as "some sort of cosmic joke", saying that "infuriating doesn't even begin to describe it".[91]

Data from August 2015, a few weeks after release, showed that user uptake of Edge was low, with only 2% of overall computer users using the new browser. Among Windows 10 users usage peaked at 20% and then dropped to 14% through August 2015.[92]

In October 2015 a security researcher published a report outlining a bug in Edge's "InPrivate" mode, causing data related to visited sites to still be cached in the user's profile directory, theoretically making it possible for others to determine sites visited. The bug gained mainstream attention in early February 2016,[93] and was fixed with a cumulative update on February 9.[94]

Microsoft's planned switch to Chromium as Edge's engine has faced mixed reception. The move will increase consistency of web platform compatibility between major browsers, and for this reason, the move has attracted criticism, as it reduces diversity in the overall web browser market, and increases the influence of Google (developer of the Blink layout engine) on the overall browser market by Microsoft ceding its independently developed browser engine.[95][96]

Market share[edit]

Desktop/laptop browser statistics
Google Chrome
68.84%
Mozilla Firefox
9.44%
Safari
9.03%
Microsoft Edge
4.6%
Internet Explorer
3.56%
Others
4.53%
Desktop web browser market share according to StatCounter for December 2019.[97]

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External links[edit]