Insider builds dress Chromium in Edge clothing

Last December, Microsoft announced plans to dump Edge's HTML and JavaScript guts in favor of Chromium, shortly after anonymous reports surfaced. At the time, Windows VP Joe Belifore pointed out that the mobile versions of Edge used open-source roots, so it made sense to do the same on the desktop. Now Microsoft is ready to show off the fruits of its labor: Edge Insider builds are ready to download to a Windows 10 PC near you.

The Edge team said in its blog entry posted today that the new builds are available in two experimental release channels: Canary and Dev. Neither of those channels is guaranteed to be stable, though—they're not even labeled "beta", and an actual beta version doesn't have a street date yet. The good news for Edge users is that these early releases can be run side-by-side with the shipping version of Edge for easy testing.

The Canary channel, much like Chrome's channel of the same name, consists of nightly builds that have passed automated testing. Anything that makes it into the Canary channel will have new features, bug fixes, and potentially new bugs. Qualified builds that make it into the Dev channel will be released weekly. These are aimed at web developers who need to validate newly-supported features on their web applications.

Microsoft also took some time to brag about Edge's accessibility features. The company claims that Edge is the only browser to get a perfect score on the HTML5Accessibility browser benchmark. Fortunately, Microsoft isn't keeping its secrets all to itself, and the Edge team says it's going to send several enhancements back upstream to the Chromium project. That's potentially great news for folks who rely on assistive devices to use the Internet.

Users can also expect better integration with Microsoft services, support for encrypted media extensions, and Windows Hello support. Interested gerbils with PCs running Windows 10 can download one of the preview builds from Microsoft. Anybody who finds a bug in these new versions of Edge is welcome to submit a bug report to Microsoft's issue tracker

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

Comments closed
    • DoomGuy64
    • 4 months ago

    Meh. Now there really is no reason to use Edge, although it probably runs more stable and has better extension support than Edge classic.

    You know what feature is missing from most modern browsers? .mht support

    Not even firefox has support anymore, so there is limited viewing options for old pages that you might have saved, which I have plenty of old vortex and 3dfx pages archived on my hard drive.

    I can’t even save to PDF without using ad ridden extensions that save broken layouts to 50-100mb filesizes. Not cool. Somebody needs to bring back .mht support, as well as addons like flashgot. Almost like all these browsers conspired to eliminate good download extensions from the internet.

    • dragontamer5788
    • 4 months ago

    Hmm, there’s no reason for Edge to have its own HTML parser and Javascript engine. However, Edge’s usability on tablet is far superior to Chrome / Firefox. Touch + Stylus browsing is an absolute joy to use.

    Hopefully, Edge’s superior usability can be merged with the HTML / Javascript engine from Chrome.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 4 months ago

    MS is a bunch of cowards, surrendering like this.

      • Wonders
      • 4 months ago

      [i<]Takesonetoknowone![/i<] Whew, a quality setup like that, just sitting there all morning... On behalf of everyone here, sincere apologies for the delay 🙂

    • Arbiter Odie
    • 4 months ago

    Excellent. The web hegemony finally sees some challenge. Now if only Microsoft would hire back their QA teams, and they’d be on the road to recovery.

      • MrDweezil
      • 4 months ago

      Isn’t this just joining the web hegemony? The idea of a standards-based web is effectively dead, and webkit is now the de-facto standard.

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 months ago

    My guess from talking to staff here are that people hate Edge because:

    1) Microsoft nag people incessantly to use Edge and Bing instead of their own preference.
    2) Edge lacks many popular extensions and Bing search is vastly inferior to Google/DDG etc.

    By making an Edge-flavoured Chromium, they’re foisting the worst parts of Edge onto Chrome and perpetuating the problems that made people switch away from Edge in the first place.

    • rutra80
    • 4 months ago

    Chromium surely has its upsides, but Edge had too – tight system integration, fastest responsiveness, 100% focus on Windows. There’s just a couple of things that I missed in Edge – lack of 120fps support and Opera-like highlight menu.

    Try the following in Edge and other browsers:
    Connect one monitor to integrated graphics and other to discrete one. Play some video with hardware acceleration (h264) and open Task Manager. Move Edge window to another display and you’ll see that decoding moves to the chip to which current display is attached. Edge is the only browser that can do that and it shows how tightly it is integrated with superior Windows features. Hopefully such things will get ported to Chromium.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 4 months ago

      Talk about an… Edge case.

      (I’ll see myself out…)

        • cynan
        • 4 months ago

        Hilarious puns aside :-D… Hardly an edge case as it also applies for streaming (eg, anyone watching netflix on a PC with multiple displays). Edge used to also be superior for passing through mutli-channel audio as well, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.

          • Redocbew
          • 4 months ago

          Streaming is not an edge case, but streaming at >60hz certainly is.

      • meerkt
      • 4 months ago

      That would not be how I choose my browsers.

      • tipoo
      • 4 months ago

      Which browsers have 120Hz support out of curiosity?

        • rutra80
        • 4 months ago

        Only chromium based do it correctly. FF kinda too but its vsync support sucks.
        [url<]https://www.vsynctester.com/[/url<] [url<]https://www.testufo.com/[/url<]

          • tipoo
          • 4 months ago

          Interesting. Edge still scrolls better than Chromium on 60hz screens, so hopefully if they bring the best of its performance back into the chromium project it becomes a dream scroller for 120hz.

          Who would have thought scrolling would still be such an unsolved problem.

            • rutra80
            • 4 months ago

            Actually on 120Hz screen Edge seems to scroll at 120Hz smoothness, it’s rendering of page contents that is capped at 100Hz AFAIR.

      • sweatshopking
      • 4 months ago

      Only edge can do 4k netflix

    • ronch
    • 4 months ago

    Firmly siding with Opera.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 months ago

      …which is also Chromium. Everything is Chromium except for Firefox. For now.

        • bitcat70
        • 4 months ago

        Eeeeeee… Safari?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 4 months ago

          Ah, right. But even then, Chromium is based on WebKit. So I guess I should have said everything is WebKit, not Chromium.

            • meerkt
            • 4 months ago

            Blink and WebKit share a lot, but they’ve still become separate.

        • ronch
        • 4 months ago

        Yup. Kinda miss Presto but Chromium is there and works great. Opera did their homework to give their browser its own look and feel. I stayed away from Opera from the time they went with Chromium in early 2013 and came back only middle of last year.

      • meerkt
      • 4 months ago

      =12 or >12?

    • sweatshopking
    • 4 months ago

    been using the canary build all day. works.

      • Redocbew
      • 4 months ago

      I know I sometimes gripe about Microsoft kind of a lot, but I’m glad they stuck with calling the channel for nightlies “canary”. It’s pretty clever.

      • LostCat
      • 4 months ago

      Definitely can’t complain about the dev channel.

    • albundy
    • 4 months ago

    i already miss the ActiveX browser hijacking and sending the OS into oblivion.

    • Redocbew
    • 4 months ago

    The fact that we’re supposed to expect better integration while Microsoft is ripping out their own engine pretty much says it all.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 4 months ago

    Just like the emperor’s new clothing, underneath is still the same. The clothing is only meant to distract from the truth.

      • drfish
      • 4 months ago

      Is that what that parable means?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 months ago

      I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. What’s underneath is Chromium, and they’re promoting it, not hiding it.

        • Wirko
        • 4 months ago

        Clothes have a new emperor.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 4 months ago

          That’s it!

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 4 months ago

        Ok bro. I’ll withhold my judgement for now.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 4 months ago

      Did you even read the writeup?

    • Neutronbeam
    • 4 months ago

    Somehow Chromium seems a bit less shiny when it’s coming from MSFT.

    • chuckula
    • 4 months ago

    New browser codename: [url=https://youtu.be/FshU58nI0Ts<]Lumberjack[/url<]

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