Microsoft Edge Windows  Microsoft Official

We’ve heard a lot about the Windows 10 Creator’s update thanks to Microsoft’s Surface event. The release will come in Spring of 2017, and also has a focus on VR. However, we didn’t hear much news on the Edge browser. The company has changed that now, revealing upcoming changes to the engine.

In a blog post yesterday, Chakra program manager Limin Zhu revealed plans to support WebAssembly in Edge. For those unfamiliar, WebAssembly provides a much faster and nicer experience on the web via “an efficient binary compiler target.” Chakra is Microsoft’s open source JavaScript engine.

Internal Testing

Microsoft is testing the functionality internally and has released a video of it in action:

The AngryBots demo experiences significantly faster load times due to a more compact binary.

“We’ve been hard at work developing support for WebAssembly in Microsoft Edge at the open-source ChakraCore project repo,” says Zhu. “Microsoft Edge and ChakraCore are close to shipping the browser preview, which we expect to come when the full JavaScript APIs are implemented.”

WebAssembly Browser Preview

WebAssembly currently has a browser preview available, and Microsoft highlights the following features in the latest build:

  • Binary format, generalized from previous AST formats to a more efficient stack machine format;  a more compact binary format generally means better loading time.
  • Equivalent human-readable text format for the purpose of reading, debugging, and occasionally handwriting WebAssembly.
  • Built-in JavaScript APIs to integrate WebAssembly modules to the web platform.
  • Up-to-date tools to produce WebAssembly modules, such as the Emscripten/Binaryen toolchain to convert C++ source to asm.js to WebAssembly, and WABT to convert between text and binary format.”

The team will be working on bringing the preview to Edge over coming months. A specific timeframe has not been given, but it likely won’t be too long until we see it in test versions of the browser.

You can find more information on the Windows blog.