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  • Microsoft adopting Chromium for Edge rendering is a big deal — let me count the ways

    Posted on December 8th, 2018 at 13:50 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you’ve been following the “Edge is dead (but it isn’t)” story, you know that Microsoft announced a couple of days ago that they’ll stop developing the EdgeHTML rendering engine, and switch the Edge browser over to using Google’s open-source Chromium under the covers.

    There have been many knowledgeable folks tossing out ideas and opinions, but some of them seem completely unfounded. As you know, I’m more of a “I’m from Missouri show me” kind of guy.

    I come from a state that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri, and you have got to show me.

    — Willard Vandiver, 1899

    I’m not really from Missouri, but you get the idea.

    Yesterday there was an interesting “Ask me anything” session on Reddit where Edge Project Manager Kyle Alden makes some startling commitments:

    Existing UWP apps (including PWAs in the Store) will continue to use EdgeHTML/Chakra without interruption. We don’t plan to shim under those with a different engine. We do expect to offer a new WebView that apps can choose to use based on the new rendering engine.

    We expect to provide support for PWAs to be installed directly from the browser (much like with Chrome) in addition to the current Store approach. We’re not ready to go into all the details yet but PWAs behaving like native apps is still an important principle for us so we’ll be looking into the right system integrations to get that right.

    It’s our intention to support existing Chrome extensions.

    To me, that says two important things, which Windows users of every stripe need to understand:

    • UWP apps (formerly “Metro,” and many other names) aren’t going to last much longer. If you had visions of UWP-based Edge, or Office, or just about any app, you need to re-think. Put a fork in Windows anything “in S Mode.” [UPDATE: I’m overstating things here. See @warrenrumak’s comment. We just learned that Edge will become a standard Win32 desktop app, not a UWP app. Microsoft has already said that Office won’t become a UWP app any time soon. You can draw your own line from there.]
    • Even Microsoft now openly believes that Progressive Web Apps — a concept originally developed and pioneered by Google — are the way of the future.

    ‘Tis a brave new world.

  • Edge isn’t dead, it’s just morphing

    Posted on December 6th, 2018 at 13:21 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The sky isn’t falling. Although I wish it would.

    Joe Belfiore just posted on the future of Edge:

    Over the next year or so, we’ll be making a technology change that happens “under the hood” for Microsoft Edge, gradually over time, and developed in the open so those of you who are interested can follow along. The key aspects of this evolution in direction are:

    1. We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers…

    2. Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS…  we will evolve the browser code more broadly, so that our distribution model offers an updated Microsoft Edge experience + platform across all supported versions of Windows, while still maintaining the benefits of the browser’s close integration with Windows.

    No explicit promise to unhook Edge updates from Windows — so it becomes independently updatable, like a UWP app. But it’s hard to imagine Windows being delivered “on a more frequent cadence.”

  • Zac Bowden: Microsoft is throwing in the towel on Edge, replacing it with a new browser based on Chromium

    Posted on December 3rd, 2018 at 20:00 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If true, this is amazing news.

    Zac Bowden, Windows Central:

    Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, a rendering engine first popularized by Google’s Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, this new web browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform.

    Edge has never been anything more than a pimple on the butt of Windows 10. Now, maybe, MS will go with an industry standard web rendering engine and add some worthwhile bells and whistles.

  • Keizer: IE and Firefox catch a break last month

    Posted on December 3rd, 2018 at 08:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Gregg Keizer has his usual excellent analysis of the monthly browser statistics:

    For the first time since June, Microsoft’s two browsers managed to hold onto their share of the browser market; the same could not be said of Firefox.

    Edge usage share was flat last month, but IE bumped up a little bit. Astounding.

    It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Surprisingly, Firefox is doing very well financially. But Chrome continues to swallow the earth.

  • Netmarketshare says Chrome’s getting even more market share, while IE and Edge continue to circle the drain

    Posted on November 1st, 2018 at 10:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Although Edge itself has gone up by a minuscule amount, IE 11 went down by more than Edge.

    All hail Chrome.

    See Gregg Keizer’s analysis in Computerworld.

    According to California-based analytics company Net Applications, IE’s and Edge’s share dropped by a quarter of a percentage point in October, ending at 13.8%, a record for the century and a number not seen by Microsoft since IE first took on Netscape Navigator in the 1990s.

  • Update in the browser wars: If you ain’t Chrome, you ain’t jack

    Posted on August 3rd, 2018 at 07:10 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Gregg Keizer has his usual monthly report in Computerworld, with some unusual findings:

    Chrome added nearly 4 percentage points to its user share in July (per Net Applications), ending at 64.7%. The last time a browser owned that large a chunk of the world’s browser market was in late 2009, when IE accounted for two-thirds of the total… Edge remains a flop. In July, just 11.5% of all Windows 10 users relied on Edge, a record low for the long-struggling browser.

    Remember that Windows 10 in S Mode only runs Edge. No other choice. And the new, fawned-over Surface Go starts with Win10 Home in S Mode.

  • Keizer on Web browsers: Being the default does little good

    Posted on July 3rd, 2018 at 14:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Nice bit of analysis from Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer:

    The browsers bundled with operating systems, notably Microsoft’s Edge and Apple’s Safari, fell to new lows last month as they continued to lose users, showing that being the default no longer provided a significant advantage…

    There’s no other way to put it: Edge is a flop. In the face of some significant barriers put up by Microsoft — among them a multistep process to change Windows 10’s browser default — users have clearly rejected the browser.

    Any wonder why the Timeline feature in 1803 (which only works with Edge and Office, really) just doesn’t move the needle?

  • Keizer: Microsoft’s browsers are dying

    Posted on March 2nd, 2018 at 11:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Er, dieing. Sorry.

    Gregg Keizer has a good look at the rapid decline of the IE (+ Edge) hegemony.

    Even though IE showed an uptick in usage last month, per Net Applications, the prognosis for Microsoft browsers is dismal:

    By the time Microsoft retires Windows 7, and for effective purposes, IE as well, Windows 10 should have reached a user share (of all Windows) of around 63.6%, assuming its climb continues on the past year’s trend line. If Edge hasn’t, well, edged up as a share of all Windows 10 by that time – and all evidence is that it will not – then Microsoft’s active browser share will be in the single digits, perhaps as low as 6%.

    Hard to imagine IE + Edge at 6%, but then again Windows Phone took a hard, fast fall, too.