Meet the browser: Microsoft Edge Next

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+Red King

Edge blog only talks about the backend stuff :(

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priorities for EdgeHTML

We’ve been immersing ourselves in your feedback, reviewing development trends, and meeting with partners and developers around the globe to inform where we take EdgeHTML next. We want to ensure we’re focusing on the most impactful work! In the spirit of continuing our opennness, we’d like to share our priorities for 2016:

  1. Deliver a modern extension platform powered by web technologies and the Windows Store
  2. Empower all Microsoft Edge customers through accessibility and inclusive design
  3. Continue to reinforce Microsoft Edge fundamentals; security, performance and efficiency
  4. Build thoughtfully for the future of the web
  5. Embrace more channels for community feedback and participation

Over the next year you’ll see our product focus and standards body engagements revolve around these five priorities. Let’s take a brief look at what each priority means to us, along with some initial features in these areas that are going “in development” today.


Last year, we announced our intent to deliver a new extension platform for Microsoft Edge to replace the often unreliable and insecure native add-ons of the past. Extensions are among the most requested features for Microsoft Edge and we’re building an extension platform powered by web technologies and familiar to developers. Any browser extensibility is a potential vector for malicious software, and our extensions will be vetted, delivered, and managed through the Windows Store.

Our implementation is underway and we look forward to sharing early examples soon via the Windows Insider Program. We will share more information on developing and publishing your own extensions at a later date…


We have often underscored our commitment to interoperability using the motto “the web should just work for everyone.” Everyone includes not just every browser and every device, but every person, regardless of ability. This is a Microsoft-wide priority in 2016:

“…top of mind for me heading into 2016 is how we must make Microsoft products accessible to the more than 1 billion people globally of all abilities.”

— Satya Nadella

Back in September, we published Accessibility: Towards a more inclusive web with Microsoft Edge and Windows 10, outlining the state of support for popular assistive technologies in Microsoft Edge and sharing our roadmap to improve that support. We’re devoting more resources than ever to that task in 2016, and are committed to making Microsoft Edge a first-class accessible experience for browsing the web whether you’re using Windows’ built in Narrator or 3rd party assistive technologies.

Our initial focus in 2016 will be on a few key areas that we think will have the biggest impact and lay a strong foundation for later improvements. We have begun development on major improvements focused on these goals:

  • Modernize our accessibility system to support HTML5 and CSS3 on Windows 10.
  • Enable HTML and Core Accessibility API mappings.
  • Provide Accessible Name and Description computation and API mappings.
  • Add accessible HTML5 controls and new semantic elements.
  • Improve high contrast support.
  • Modernize caret browsing and new input modalities.
  • Improve visual impairment readability, focus, and selection.
  • Deliver developer tools for building and testing accessible sites.

We’re also investigating longer term investments like the Web Speech API and script-based accessibility. We plan to share more details about our accessibility improvements in future posts on the topic.


While web developers have a responsibility to write safe and functional code, ultimately the browser is responsible for ensuring that code doesn’t harm the user or breach their trust, that it performs as expected, and that doesn’t have a disproportionate impact on system stability or battery life. While these are all areas that are never “done,” we will continue to focus on fundamentals in 2016, including:

  • Lead the industry in JavaScript benchmark performance (good luck catching us).
  • Advance product security across multiple dimensions (lots of surprises coming).
  • Enhance keyboard scrolling performance and interactivity.
  • Isolate Adobe Flash into a separate process and pause unnecessary content.
  • Continue to push the GPU boundaries through native Windows graphics.
  • Improve background tab suspension, timers, and processing.

In addition to these highlights, we’re continually poring over telemetry and feedback to identify the top reliability and performance bugs impacting users, and fixing them as quickly as possible. We plan to share more details on how we identify and act on the top real-world issues in future posts.

Building for the future of the web

Web standards are tricky business – HTML, CSS & JavaScript consist of more than 300 W3C specifications from over 400 member organizations. No browser implements every standard, and in fact more than a third of web standards aren’t implemented by any of the most popular browsers.

Venn diagram of APIs supported in Microsoft Edge and Chrome plotted against web standards specifications. Only a relatively small subset of standardized APIs make up the interoperable intersection of the two browsers.

APIs supported in Microsoft Edge and Chrome plotted against web standards specifications. Only a relatively small subset of standardized APIs make up the interoperable intersection of the two browsers.

Despite this, it’s fashionable to measure browsers based on the number of new APIs they support. While this can be a useful yardstick, we believe a measure of thoughtfulness is important in choosing which technologies to implement, and at what pace.

Our goal is to find the right approach to implementing new web standards features that may undergo rapid evolution, potentially causing unneeded turbulence for web developers (e.g. Flexbox or WebRTC/ObjectRTC), or may gather popularity and then be abandoned for various reasons (e.g. Object.observe() or SMIL).

Though it’s not an exact science, we use a combination of examining the standards spec stability and maturity, requests with real-world scenarios from our partners and web developer community, and data collected via the Bing crawler from hundreds of millions of websites when determining which standards to implement next.

With this in mind, we have begun development on these technologies:

In addition to the above, we’re implementing Drag and Drop Directories (a subset of the deprecated FileSystem API) for interoperability with existing folder upload scenarios. To standardized folder upload scenarios in the future, we continue to work with the Directory Upload specification at the WICG.

We’re also beginning initial explorations and prototyping on some work that we expect to span multiple releases and involve standards iteration. These technologies include Service Worker and the Push API. We’re excited about evolving our Hosted Web App platform using these technologies to cover more offline scenarios.

In addition, we remain excited about the potential of Web Components and outlined our vision for Web Components in Microsoft Edge last year. We intend to prototype Shadow DOM next as we conclude investments rearchitecting our DOM, but we expect it to be a long term investment as the standards stabilize.

Finally, we’re looking forward to exciting new standards maturing in 2016:

  • FIDO 2.0: We worked with Google, PayPal, and others to submit FIDO 2.0 proposals to W3C in November. As we refine and implement these standards in Microsoft Edge you will be able to use Windows Hello to log-in to web sites that adopt the APIs.
  • Web Payments: Web Payments is another area we expect to see progress. W3C’s Web Payments Working Group is considering different proposals for an API to allow integrated payments using services hosted by the browser.
  • ECMAScript 2016: We will continue to deeply engage in ECMA’s TC39 committee to develop features for ECMAScript 2016 and beyond, including Async Functions, which is already implemented behind experimental flags in preview builds of Microsoft Edge today.

This is a small highlight of the dozens of standards we’re developing together with the industry, and these features will begin to appear in nightly builds soon. There’s always more to come with web standards and this is just a highlight of what’s on the way!



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Microsoft has finally started implementing new features in its latest internal Redstone builds, the first of which appear to focus on the company’s new Windows 10 browser, Edge. Microsoft is working to make Edge a viable alternative to other popular web browsers in Redstone, by introducing extensions and other much needed features.

In the latest builds of Redstone, Edge now features a save download prompt, meaning Edge will no longer automatically save downloads when a download is being offered. This is a much requested feature which surprisingly is not present in the current public release of Edge, and to many considered a security issue as the browser simply downloads whatever a webpage is offering without the users consent.


Microsoft is also working on implementing a number of new technologies behind the scenes as well, such as Web Notifications. In the latest internal builds, the flags area within Edge includes an option to enable Web Notifications, however it is unclear if these will actually be working by the time the next Insider drop is released.

Additionally, the company is also making it easier to open inPrivate tabs on Mobile, with the latest Windows 10 Mobile builds featuring a button that opens an inPrivate tab directly from the tab screen, instead of hiding it in a menu like currently. Current internal versions of Microsoft Edge are on version 31, 6 versions newer than the current public release at version 25.

Of course, there will be further improvements and features made to Edge and the rest of Redstone over the coming months leading up to its release in June/July. But it’s good to finally start seeing features get implemented into the main Redstone development branches.

With these changes, it’s clear Microsoft is serious about its new Edge browser. With extensions coming very soon, it’s likely many will start using the browser full time over other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, since Windows 10 and Edge go hand in hand for a better browsing experience.

Microsoft is currently flighting new builds with these changes in as we speak, however it is unclear whether these Edge improvements will be in the next drop or the one after. Regardless, these changes are coming and are very welcome additions to the Edge feature-base, which right now is looking rather bare compared to rival browsers.


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there are some interesting new things to play with in Microsoft Edge on build 14316 for both normal users and web developers.

  • Drag and drop folders: Users can now upload folders to sites like OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive by dragging and dropping into Microsoft Edge.
  • Better tab behavior on Mobile: Microsoft Edge keeps your tabs under control when you use it with apps on your phone. If you tap on a link in an app that opens a new tab in Microsoft Edge, pressing the back button when you’re done will close that tab, then take you back to the app. Your tabs list stays lean and relevant, by smartly closing tabs you’re done with.
  • Better copy/paste on Mobile: We've made a couple of improvements to copy and paste on the phone. When you are typing into an edit box on a web page, you will now be able to use the paste button above the keyboard. Also, if you select text on a web page the copy button will appear immediately near the selection.
  • Better favorites importing: You can now import favorites from Firefox, in addition to Chrome and Internet Explorer. When you import favorites from any browser, they will now land in a separate clearly labeled folder, instead of mixed in with your existing favorites.
  • Favorites tree view: Organizing your favorites is now easier using the new "tree" display in the Hub. You can expand and collapse folders to see the contents of as many or few as you like, and easily move favorites between folders with drag and drop.
  • Download reminders: Edge now gives you a reminder of in-progress downloads whenever you close Edge. This gives you the opportunity to complete downloads prior to closing Edge.
  • Default save location: You can now set where downloaded files are saved by default. Just open “Settings”, choose "Advanced settings", and find the new option under “Downloads."
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Boo Berry

I'll be more interested in Edge once a proper bookmark manager lands. :p That, and a way to disable the annoying smooth scrolling and the LastPass extension.

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10 minutes ago, Boo Berry said:

I'll be more interested in Edge once a proper bookmark manager lands. :p That, and a way to disable the annoying smooth scrolling and the LastPass extension.

what do you mean "smooth scrolling"?

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Boo Berry

Edge, when scrolling webpages, uses smooth scrolling like IE does... until you turn it off in IE. Smooth scrolling is actually rather annoying to me and I rather not use it in web browsers. Fortunately I can disable smooth scrolling in every other browser except Edge. Well, I *can* disable it in Edge but I'd have to sacrifice animations in Windows to do so, which isn't a worthwhile compromise to me.

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George P

Edge scrolls very well for me on this atom tablet, never noticed a issue. My second browser, opera, doesn't come close to being as smooth.

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Boo Berry

I admit it's pretty smooth and better than Firefox or Chrome when smooth scrolling is enabled. Still don't like it though. :p

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George P

It's running great for me on this desktop, with the newest official build.   There's a few things I'd like to see though, gonna send feedback on this as well, an option to have/add a title bar, right now there isn't one for edge, it's just the tabs all the way to the top, I have lots of tabs open so I run out of places to actually click and move the window around at some point, it can be a pain since I don't run my browsers in full/max mode and in a smaller window to the size I like and thus move them around the desktop from time to time.


Another thing is with the overall UI, I love the dark theme, BUT, and the newest Opera build does this to, the tabs, at least for me, can get lost in the UI, sure the active tab is like, one tone lighter than the other ones, but I think all the tabs should be a few tones lighter than the rest of the UI, and the active tab one tone lighter as well, right now they're just black, I think a dark gray would be better, with the active tab a lighter gray.

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load YouTube's HTML5 test page using the stable version of Microsoft Edge and the Insider version, you may notice that MSE & WebM VP9 is shown as supported by the Insider version while it is shown as unsupported by the stable version. This depends on whether the device Edge is run on supports hardware decoding or not, with the feature shown as supported on YouTube if that is the case.

Microsoft's implementation of VP9 supports software and hardware decoding, the latter only if supported by the device and the former disabled by default.

Tests conducted by Microsoft revealed a big difference in power consumption between software and hardware decoding for 1080p and 2160p content which is the reason why software decoding is not enabled by default.


According to these tests, software decode may use up to 20% more power when viewing 1080p video, and up to 80% more power when viewing 2160p video.

That's why VP9 is only enabled in Microsoft Edge by default if hardware acceleration is supported by the device the browser is run on.

Managing VP9 and Opus in Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge vp9

Microsoft added management option for VP9 and Opus to the experimental flags page of the browser.

  1. Load about:flags in the address bar of Microsoft Edge.
  2. Scroll down until you come to the Media Source Extensions listing there.

You will notice that the Opus audio format is enabled there by default, and that the VP9 video format is set to automatic.

Automatic in this case means that VP9 will be enabled only if the device supports hardware acceleration. If you switch the preference to enabled, you tell Edge to use VP9 whenever it is requested regardless of hardware decoding support, and if you set it to disabled, you turn off support completely.

Please note that you need to restart the web browser if you make changes on the page.

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George P

I really hope that post RS1 the Edge team can push out updates directly through the store and not linked to OS updates.   There's no reason the top user layer can't be updated while EdgeHTML is updated with the OS if needs be.

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MS said that updates would be pushed as they were made. They also said that Preview Builds would be pushed fast as well. I don't trust anything coming out of Redmond.

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1 hour ago, George P said:

I really hope that post RS1 the Edge team can push out updates directly through the store and not linked to OS updates.   There's no reason the top user layer can't be updated while EdgeHTML is updated with the OS if needs be.

It's possible that the EdgeHTML code the Store and other Windows Runtime apps use would conflict with those if it were updated while the OS was running.

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George P
54 minutes ago, randomevent said:

It's possible that the EdgeHTML code the Store and other Windows Runtime apps use would conflict with those if it were updated while the OS was running.

From what I remember there are two parts here, EdgeHTML at version 13 in the public version and 14?  in the preview versions, is the core engine that other things use as well.  The top layer, the UI and other features are just called Edge 25 in the public version, and I guess the one in redsone is up to, what? 27 now?    Still those are two parts, you can update the top layer, Edge 25 without having to touch the core EdgeHTML bits.   It's why MS has two names and two versions for them and not just one "Edge" version.   


I think it's possible t add features and UI tweaks and leave EdgeHTML at version 14 or w/e it is in the future when RS1 goes out, so you don't mess with things that might break other apps, and just keep updating the top layer Edge to version 28 or 29 or 30 etc.    I think the reason they haven't yet is still down to core APIs being added in redstone 1 that they need, without those there they can't get the new UI and other features to work.

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I can't really say.  I just assume there's a reason they haven't done it the way we expected them to.

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George P

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer will block SHA-1 signed TLS certificates from Feb 2017.

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