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Microsoft releases new WebView2 SDK powered by Chromium Edge

Earlier this year, during Build, Microsoft introduced a new version of the WebView control, called WebView2. As you'd expect, this new version is powered by the new Chromium-based Edge browser, rather than the one that currently ships with Windows 10. Today, the company released a new version of the WebView2 SDK, and made it more broadly available to developers interested in testing its capabilities.

Much like the current builds of the new Edge browser, the new SDK only works on Windows 10, and only with some Win32 C++ APIs, though Microsoft promises support for other versions of Windows and platforms such as UWP, WinForms, and WFP later on. Today's update does address some of the feedback that the company received from the initial preview. 32-bit WebView is now supported on 64-bit machines, and it's now possible to disable the status bar and dev tools, for example.

WebView is what allows developers to build web content into their apps, including sign-in pages for certain services, or full-blown Progressive Web Apps, that rely almost entirely on web content. With WebView2 now being powered by the same Chromium engine that powers the new version of the Edge browser, the experience could be better in a number of ways, especially because it should be more interoperable with web experiences built for other platforms.

To showcase the capabilities of WebView2, Microsoft will be building a new add-ins experience for its Office apps in the future, powered by the new control.

Microsoft also wants to ensure that the experience users have is consistent across all Windows devices. The WebView2 control will be updated with the Edge browser itself by default, meaning all users will have the same capabilities regardless of what version of Windows they're running. However, should developers want more control over the experience, they can ship their apps with a specific version of WebView2, and update it at their own pace.

This new version of WebView also serves as a step towards unification, since it is meant to displace both EdgeHTML- and MSHTML-based versions of the control. Developers will be able to target Windows 10 and Windows 7 machines alike. If you're interested, you can read more about WebView2 here, or head over to GitHub to get started working with it.

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