Microsoft plans to align all Edge codebases later this year - gHacks Tech News

Microsoft plans to align all Edge codebases later this year

Now that the legacy version of Microsoft's Edge browser has run out of support, Microsoft is doubling-down on its new Chromium-based Edge browser. During the Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft revealed plans to align the codebase of the Edge browser on all supported platforms.

Currently, Microsoft Edge on the desktop differs from the mobile versions of Edge for iOS and Android, and even the mobile apps differ because the iOS version is using WebKit as its codebase while the Android version Chromium.

The current situation is problematic from a development point of view, as features need to be developed independently currently. A feature introduced on the desktop, e.g. Collections, needed to be recreated for mobile versions of Edge; this causes development overhead and results in different versions of Edge offering different features to users of the browser.

Going forward, Microsoft Edge will be based on a single codebase that is Chromium. All browsers, desktop and mobile, share that codebase. Microsoft plans to migrate all features of the current versions of Edge for Android and iOS to that new codebase, so that Enterprise customers may continue to use policies and existing features that are present in the current Edge versions for mobile devices.

code base alignment edge

The engineering process benefits from the change significantly, as it is easier to bring features and changes to all versions of Microsoft Edge, and to introduce desktop features, those that are useful on mobile devices, to the mobile versions of the browser.

Microsoft started the platform aligning work last year. The company plans to release a beta version of the platform aligned versions of Microsoft Edge for Android and iOS in the coming months. The beta will be published to the Google Play Store and Apple iOS TestFlight. The beta apps can be installed side-by-side with the regular versions of Microsoft Edge according to Microsoft.

Here is the video of the announcement:

Now You: do you use Microsoft Edge? What is your take on Microsoft's plans? (via WinAero)

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Microsoft plans to align all Edge codebases later this year
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Microsoft plans to align all Edge codebases later this year
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Going forward, Microsoft Edge will be based on a single codebase that is Chromium to improve engineering efficiency and introduce desktop features to mobile versions of Edge.
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Comments

  1. ShintoPlasm said on March 10, 2021 at 9:30 am
    Reply
    1. Lemegeton said on March 11, 2021 at 8:43 am
      Reply

      Very interesting research. Although, of course, it is noticeable that the researcher is biased towards Brave – some of the requests made by this browser are mentioned in passing, without explaining what exactly they do and why, although it is in the case of Brave that the author should know the most.
      Nevertheless, as I said, the research is interesting and even useful: some of the addresses from the article need to be entered directly into the blocklist.
      It came as no surprise that the Edge and the current Opera are completely unsuitable for those who care a little about their privacy.
      P.S.
      It is a pity that the study does not include Ungoogled Chromium and Vivaldi, but it is clear that it might not be profitable for the author to have browsers in the list, the result of which could look better than Brave’s.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on March 11, 2021 at 9:52 am
        Reply

        Actually I’m not sure that Opera is all that bad, according to that comparison. Noticeably, Firefox keeps on sending telemetry even when you’ve disabled it (!). Finally, it’s telling that Vivaldi was not included – probably because it would make Brave look bad… :)

      2. Lemegeton said on March 11, 2021 at 7:05 pm
        Reply

        Opera is definitely looks bad (no surprise here with their current management).
        And yes, I did not mention Firefox in my comment because it has been obvious for quite some time that things with so called “telemetry” are bad there (current Mozilla does not respect user privacy at all), although this study shows that everything is AT ALL BAD: Mozilla collects EVERYTHING it can, and dumps it to their servers (at the same time, dumping the very fact that telemetry was turned on/off (which kind of hints)).

      3. Iron Heart said on March 12, 2021 at 7:24 am
        Reply

        @Lemegeton, @ShintoPlasm

        I don’t think Vivaldi would fare significantly better than Brave. It establishes many of the same connections (application updater, extension updates, SafeBrowsing, certificate revocation, telemetry ping etc.). Some of the connections Brave establishes, while Vivaldi doesn’t, are also objectively beneficial (e.g. HTTPS Everywhere ruleset updates, adblock ruleset updates).

        By the way, my Brave connection count is lower because I’ve disabled telemetry under brave://settings/privacy and also disabled SafeBrowsing under brave://settings/security but that’s my custom setup and not the defaults, so there you go.

      4. Lemegeton said on March 12, 2021 at 10:44 am
        Reply

        > I don’t think Vivaldi would fare significantly better than Brave.

        It may not be significant, but a little better – quite likely.

        > Some of the connections Brave establishes, while Vivaldi doesn’t, are also objectively beneficial (e.g. HTTPS Everywhere ruleset updates, adblock ruleset updates).

        This statement is symmetrical: Vivaldi will also have their own requests for a built-in ad- and tracker-blocking ruleset updates, for example.

        > By the way, my Brave connection count is lower because I’ve disabled telemetry under brave://settings/privacy and also disabled SafeBrowsing under brave://settings/security but that’s my custom setup and not the defaults, so there you go.

        This statement is also symmetrical: Vivaldi can also be configured so that it does not make some of such requests (Including option to disable SafeBrowsing). And requires fewer such customizations than Brave.
        For example, checking for updates can be disabled in Vivaldi right in the settings (now most browsers do not have this option at all and disabling updates not trivial).
        So this part of the claim should be directed to the author of the original article: it was its author who chose the option with the default settings on the first and second launch, without “tuning”.
        Unfortunately, the author of the article did not include in the study any chromium-based browsers that could show results better than Brave. So there is no way to compare in fact. There can always be “surprises”. And that is why I wrote in my first comment that it is a pity that there are none in the study.

      5. Iron Heart said on March 12, 2021 at 12:34 pm
        Reply

        @Lemegeton

        Fair enough, I forgot about Vivaldi’s adblocker, it might establish a connection for the ruleset updates akin to the connection Brave establishes for its ruleset updates (which would again be a fairly equal connection count, 1:1). But that was not my point – “Brave establishes more connections than [XYZ browser]!” says nothing without first analyzing the connection, i.e. asking the question “Is it beneficial for the user?”.

        Connection counting without knowing what the connections are for makes very little sense.

        > And requires fewer such customizations than Brave.

        I doubt it – apart from the single option to disable updates, I mean (though on a more general note, that’s a very bad idea, we are talking about browsers here).

        I think we shouldn’t speculate too much here on why Vivaldi was excluded. Perhaps it was because Vivaldi has just about 2 million users, which is the more likely reason in my book. I just wanted to say that I do not expect Vivaldi’s connection count to be much lower seeing how the connections Brave does in fact establish are, for the most part, necessary / beneficial ones, which every browser is likely to establish in some capacity. That was the only point I was trying to make here.

      6. Lemegeton said on March 13, 2021 at 5:39 pm
        Reply

        > But that was not my point – “Brave establishes more connections than [XYZ browser]!” says nothing without first analyzing the connection, i.e. asking the question “Is it beneficial for the user?”.
        > Connection counting without knowing what the connections are for makes very little sense.

        I agree with that. But that’s why I gave an example with an adblocker in Vivaldi to show that connections in Vivaldi can also be beneficial for the user. We don’t know without comparison, and the author of article did not add to the comparison Vivaldi and Ungoogled Chromium. It’s a pity, and that’s what I wrote in the first comment.

        > I doubt it – apart from the single option to disable updates, I mean (though on a more general note, that’s a very bad idea, we are talking about browsers here).

        You are in doubt, because you compared only one option – check for updates. There is not only one such option in Vivaldi. There are several more options that can potentially affect privacy – I just gave update check as an example. So your doubts in the expressed form are not constructive.
        But, in turn, in the Brave, by default, there are Brave rewards, tokens and everything associated with them.

        >I think we shouldn’t speculate too much here on why Vivaldi was excluded. Perhaps it was because Vivaldi has just about 2 million users, which is the more likely reason in my book.

        Perhaps yes, perhaps no. If you suggest not to speculate on this, do not speculate yourself.

        >I just wanted to say that I do not expect Vivaldi’s connection count to be much lower seeing how the connections Brave does in fact establish are, for the most part, necessary / beneficial ones, which every browser is likely to establish in some capacity. That was the only point I was trying to make here.

        Brave Rewards are not that useful / necessary or beneficial BY DEFAULT.
        Perhaps, if Rewards and everything connected with it were disabled by default, I would agree in this part. But I am not the one who chose browsers with default settings for comparison.

      7. Iron Heart said on March 12, 2021 at 12:43 pm
        Reply

        @Lemegeton

        The only thing that really matters is whether or not there are any questionable connections (see Chrome, Edge, Opera as primary negative examples) with no tangible user benefit. If there aren’t, and I think that’s the case for both Brave and Vivaldi, then the browser can be considered user-friendly in terms of the privacy situation between browser dev and user.

      8. Lemegeton said on March 13, 2021 at 5:42 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart
        > The only thing that really matters is whether or not there are any questionable connections (see Chrome, Edge, Opera as primary negative examples) with no tangible user benefit. If there aren’t, and I think that’s the case for both Brave and Vivaldi, then the browser can be considered user-friendly in terms of the privacy situation between browser dev and user.

        I totally agree with that.
        But I still regret that Vivaldi and Ungoogled Chromium are not in comparison: I would like to see the results.

  2. Anonymous said on March 10, 2021 at 9:53 am
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    I want to know how that is going to work out for iOS being that all browsers in iOS are forced to use Safari’s WebKit. Unless Microsoft knows something about an Apple policy change that I’ve not heard of they won’t be able to bundle their own browser engine.

    1. Daffy said on March 16, 2021 at 7:23 pm
      Reply

      Yes that was my first thought. Even Chrome on iOS uses WebKit rather than chromium/Blink as the engine. So how can MS Edge use Chromium when Apple doesn’t allow different browser engines

  3. Anonymous said on March 10, 2021 at 10:17 am
    Reply

    MS is one of the most evil companies out there, and the browser is part of that system. It’s clear though, from a technical standpoint the Edge team does a lot of things right.

    1. Andre T. Robinson said on March 11, 2021 at 2:05 am
      Reply

      Only an evil person ignores all the truly evil corporate entities around the world destroying the environment, killing people, enslaving people, exploiting and stealing money from people, undermining democracy, actively supporting dictators and a whole lot worse besides. Apple, Microsoft etc. have their detractors but in reality they don’t even come close. Grow up and open your eyes.

      1. Anonymous said on March 11, 2021 at 11:49 am
        Reply

        Big Tech does a lot of things from your list. And just being among the richest corporations in the world in the leading imperialist power places them at the heart of the oppressive capitalist system in so many not always visible ways. They have also their specific evil touch from the information sector they are working in that you do not seem to have realized, like if for example privacy and censorship were secondary matters compared to killing the whales.

  4. anona said on March 10, 2021 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    Does that mean the Android version will get extension support?

    And how can you claim to align the iOS codebase when it’s not possible due to Apple’s restrictions (WebKit mandatory)?

    1. ShintoPlasm said on March 11, 2021 at 9:54 am
      Reply

      I think for iOS devices this will be more about aligning the UI and functionality with the rest of the lineup, whilst still using Apple’s WebKit.

  5. Peach said on March 10, 2021 at 12:39 pm
    Reply

    Big deal. Wake me up when they promise to stop spying on you.

  6. Rocky said on March 10, 2021 at 3:55 pm
    Reply

    I understood that all Apple based devices must use the Apple rendering engine and it only the presentation that can be customised . So can Microsoft actually align the iOS code base with its other offerings ?

    1. ShintoPlasm said on March 11, 2021 at 6:18 pm
      Reply

      They can’t avoid using Apple’s mandated WebKit, but they can at least align the UI in all their mobile apps with the desktop version’s. At the moment it’s three entirely different user experiences. Not to mention that the Android version is still stuck on Chromium 77 (!).

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