Microsoft has revealed some future plans for its Edge browser, sharing some details about the coming extension platform and improved accessibility and security features.
The company originally planned to release extensions for Edge last year, but then postponed that step to 2016. Extensions for Microsoft Edge are among the most requested features.
But since extensions can open up doors to malicious software, Microsoft is planning to test, manage and deliver them through the Windows Store.
As Jason Weber, Director of Program Management at Microsoft points out on the Microsoft Edge Dev Blog, the Edge team has been busy with checking user feedback, “reviewing development trends, and meeting with partners and developers around the globe to inform where we take EdgeHTML next”
Apart from Edge extensions, the company will focus on four other priorities in 2016 for EdgeHTML:
Quoting CEO Satya Nadella, Weber assures the company's commitment to the motto “the web should just work for everyone”, which means developing Microsoft products in a way that they are accessible not only by any device or browser, but for every individual.
- “Modernize our accessibility system to support HTML5 and CSS3 on Windows 10.
- Enable HTML and Core Accessibility API mappings.
- Provide Accessible Name and Description computation and API mappings.
- Add accessible HTML5 controls and new semantic elements.
- Improve high contrast support.
- Modernize caret browsing and new input modalities.
- Improve visual impairment readability, focus, and selection.
- Deliver developer tools for building and testing accessible sites.”
Microsoft will continue to work on the fundamentals of a perfect browser, which ensures that Edge browser responsibly handles the website-code, while providing user security, privacy and a minimal impact on battery life and system stability.
- Advance product security across multiple dimensions (lots of surprises coming).
- Enhance keyboard scrolling performance and interactivity.
- Isolate Adobe Flash into a separate process and pause unnecessary content.
- Continue to push the GPU boundaries through native Windows graphics.
- Improve background tab suspension, timers, and processing.”
Building for the future of the web
Explaining that more than “a third of web standards aren't implemented by any of the most popular browsers”, Weber states that Microsoft believes that “a measure of thoughtfulness is important in choosing which technologies to implement, and at what pace”. The Edge browser team determines which standard to implement by examining the data collected by Bing, spec stability and maturity and by factoring in other aspects.
- “ES2016 Modules
- Fetch API (a component technology of Service Worker; our initial implementation will focus on XHR-style scenarios)
- Web Notifications (integrated with the Windows 10 Action Center)
- Beacon API
- WOFF 2.0
- High Resolution Time Level 2
- Future ECMAScript proposals – Array.prototype.includes, String.prototype.padStart, String.prototype.padEnd, Object.values, Object.entries
- JS pipeline improvements for future WebAssembly work”
Opening up to the community
As Weber points out, Microsoft is tries to share and openly interact with the web community. To achive this goal, the company is working on projects that will make it simpler for developers track and share interoperability issues, and “access more of the data we use to make decisions about which web technologies we'll support and when.”