Edge to use Chromium!


#1

Hot off the rumor mill…2 days ago! :stuck_out_tongue:

If this is true, this will certainly make our lives testing across browsers easier. We will just need to check Firefox, Chrome, and Safari at this point.


#2

That’s surprising.


#3

Official announcement: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2018/12/06/microsoft-edge-making-the-web-better-through-more-open-source-collaboration/

Mozilla isn’t happy: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/12/06/goodbye-edge/


#4

This is bad for the web! We need more solution that are more than just WebKit and Chrome! I think this is a step back. Firefox for the win.


#5

I keep hearing this, but I am not sure how this is bad for the web :necktie:

It’s not like developers actively tested on Edge, and all users saw (besides missing functionality in the browser) was a horde of compatibility issues on even the most popular sites. This solves that problem by going to the unofficial official web standard, Google’s implementation. Lastly, Edge held the web back with missing implementations for a lot of popular technologies (Web Components, etc.) that now will no longer be the case.

Interested in hearing why you think it is going in the wrong direction?


#6

It’s a problem when people start targeting only one implementation and start using non-standard APIs which at some point in time, all become broken when that implementation is no longer standard. This is what happened with IE6. It helps now that we have standards bodies defining the capabilities of the web, but people don’t necessarily target standards, they target browsers and what works in them.


#7

Is this the real reason you left Microsoft, you didn’t wish to be associated with Google?

A bit of a bummer for them. I have appreciated Firefox’s direction and offerings for developers. I am sure they will fight on, thankfully.


#8

:wink: I was joking.

But what insider info do you have from your former MS colleagues and comrades? Did you have to leave for them to finally seriously consider and realize you were right? :thinking:

If so, thanks for leaving so this could happen. :laughing: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#9

Haha. Let me provide a little bit of background, and the usual disclaimers that this is all just my personal take on it yadda yadda yadda.

I was a PM on the Web Platform team that is in the center of all this. The Web Platform Team is the one that works on EdgeHTML and Chakra. My area of focus within this was anything app related - PWA, Electron, React Native, webviews, and so on. This shift to using Blink and V8 is one that totally affects my team, and I helped educate our management on the pros/cons of making this shift. Similarly, a lot of people supported content around what a migration would look like for their respective areas (DOM, DevTools, Performance, Rendering, etc.), so it was a massive collaborative effort.

What I recommended matched my personal views: As a web platform, we have two customers: developers and regular consumers. The shift to using Blink and V8 is one that makes both of them happy.

Developers rarely tested for Edge, and our tools for making that testing even possible was significantly behind what Chrome and Firefox provided. Being tied to Windows (and the latest version of that for the newest features) made testing even more of a challenge for your typical web developer. If you were an app developer, especially one who used an Edge based webview in your app, you really couldn’t do much since your customers were on everything Windows 7 and up, and our webviews only worked on (again) the latest versions of Windows 10. This meant all “Win32/desktop” apps still used an older webview based on IE that had the widest reach.

On the consumer front, the story is much simpler. They don’t care what goes on under the hood. They just want their favorite web sites to work properly as the developer intended. Partly due to developers not testing in Edge (see above) and partly due to us not supporting the standards developers cared about, getting sites to function properly was an uphill battle. Our low marketshare didn’t help. (For example, less than .5% of this site’s visitors use Edge. I think @REB_412 was one of the few who tested in it, adding to the count :P)

Moving to a Chromium-based solution solves both of these problems directly. There will be areas where we are ahead, and those are places the team has openly stated their intent to contribute back to Chromium to make the platform stronger. I left the team by this point, so I have no visibility beyond what I read publicly on this.

Me leaving wasn’t directly related to this, but the timing just happened to work out. I was on paternity leave, and I had some breathing room to figure out what my ideal job would look like. I had been at Microsoft for 10 years at that point, and I worked on some fantastic teams (and some less fantastic ones), so I had a good gauge on what I liked and didn’t. What I liked shouldn’t be a surprise to most of you: it was a combination of working on challenging problems (that customers cared about) while working with designers, developers, and web technologies. I passively looked around and talked to a variety of companies. Through a combination of luck (all job hunts have a large element of luck in them!). me really enjoying the people I met during my interviews, and them liking me, I joined Salesforce as a Product Manager for their Lightning Design System :cloud_with_lightning:

Feel free to ask me any other question you may have! If I can answer it, I will :slight_smile:


#10

This is what puts a lot of the non-webkit implementations at a disadvantage. Between Safari on iOS and Chrome on Desktop and Android, a really large part of the internet browsing audience is covered. If I am a developer, targeting those audiences will almost always give me the best return on time invested. Outside of browser-specific APIs, one concern is worth mentioning is stagnation - the state of the web no longer keeps moving forward without this extra competition. That also happened with IE6.

I have no way of predicting the future (though Bitcoin will reach 25K in a few months), but as long as there is healthy competition between native apps and web, the web platform will have to keep evolving. The increased emphasis on standards bodies that you bring up does make too much non-standardness difficult, but standards bodies can be heavily influenced when the entire world revolves around one implementation.

:slight_smile:


#11

Great response @kirupa. Thanks for your previous involvement in all this. :wink:

Do you think after acquiring GitHub and now this announcement, that it will provide faster improvements concerning performance of Electron based apps? Maybe even now allowing the merging of things down into a single shared thread to be less resource intensive? That would be wonderful. Or perhaps some other direction for opportunities?

Indeed. But what would be your guess-timation to begin seeing this move roll out?


#12

Regarding the Electron piece, any improvements that are made in making it faster and lightweight would be nice. There isn’t a whole lot I can share that isn’t already public - one of the benefits of a truly open source project haha. Development (and planning for it) is done in the open.

As for when we will see Chromium-based builds of Edge, early 2019 according to this post: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2018/12/06/microsoft-edge-making-the-web-better-through-more-open-source-collaboration/


#13

Yeah true concerning Electron, but you were formerly an insider and with the recent acquisition I figured it was worth a shot.

@ everyone

Curious, so based upon those statements do most developers whom post here worry about supporting Edge? Were those whom do so wasting their time? :trout:


#14

I don’t want to divulge anything that you can’t find online :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

Generally, yes. But MS had said at some point in time (and I’m having trouble finding a reference to it, especially among all the chromium news) something to the effect of, “if it works differently that Chrome, it’s considered a bug.” This, as it turned out, was not literally the case, but it showed how Edge was trying to be more like chrome, at least as far as API support and consistency went. As a developer this provides some level of security making you think, well if it works in Chrome, it probably works in Edge too. And if it doesn’t, it’s probably not far off from it. The concern for testing Edge becomes far less than that of something like IE which can vary drastically in not only feature support but also APIs.


#16

I want to make a correction here. I do not normally use Microsoft Edge as my everyday browser. I used to use Opera but about a month ago I switched over to Chrome (mainly because of its popularity), but I DO test in MicroSoft Edge.


#17

I updated my original post with your clarification :slight_smile:


#18

I enjoyed reading this thread but have found myself surprisingly vacant of an opinion on the matter.

Here’s a related thread from 15 years ago:


#19

Or to put some more nuance on what I said above, after following the issues on this very forum for 15 years, it’s really interesting and positive to see that Kirupa’s personally playing a hand in things, or advocating for a particular position. But, looking at things on such a long timescale, I’m so used to dealing with good and/or bad (with debates on both sides) that a change like this doesn’t really register much with me, even if large aggregates of people hypothetically need to take more/less action as a result of this than if another outcome had happened.


#20

Haha! Wow. That is an epic trip back in time there. I keep forgetting both how long all of us have known each other as well as how much has changed in 15 years :o_rly: