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Microsoft Edge Gets Speed Boost with New UI Architecture

Microsoft Edge 122 and 124 running the WebUI 2.0 user interface are seeing noticeable gains in performance.

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has introduced improvements to its Edge browser, focusing on enhancing the user interface (UI) response times. The latest updates, particularly in Edge versions 122 and 124, have shown marked increases in performance, benefiting users with varying hardware configurations.

Browser Essentials UI Sees Major Gains

The release of Edge 122 has brought a 42 percent increase in response times for the Browser Essentials UI. This improvement is particularly noticeable for users with PCs that lack solid-state drives (SSD) and have less than 8GB of RAM, where the performance boost reaches up to 76 percent. These enhancements aim to provide a smoother and more responsive browsing experience, especially on lower-end devices.

In mid-April, Edge 124 introduced further optimizations, focusing on the Favorites feature. The Favorites UI now responds 40 percent faster when expanded or collapsed. This improvement is based on telemetry data collected from Edge users, which identified areas where UI speed could be optimized.

WebUI 2.0: The Engine Behind the Improvements

The significant performance gains in Edge are attributed to Microsoft's new project, WebUI 2.0. The previous UI codebase was not modular enough, leading to unnecessary sharing of components and subsequent slowdowns. Additionally, the reliance on for client-side rendering introduced delays, particularly on low-end devices, due to the need for downloading, JIT compiling, and execution before rendering the UI.

WebUI 2.0 adopts a markup-first architecture, which minimizes code bundle sizes and reduces the amount of JavaScript executed during UI initialization. This new architecture is more modular and leverages a repository of web components optimized for modern web engines. Microsoft has already implemented WebUI 2.0 in the Browser Essentials UI, resulting in significant speed improvements. The company plans to extend this new architecture to other UI features in Edge, promising further performance enhancements in the coming months.

Future Enhancements and Open Source Plans

Microsoft's commitment to improving Edge doesn't stop with the current updates. Over the coming months, the company plans to ship responsiveness improvements to additional Edge features, including history, downloads, and wallet. These enhancements are guided by telemetry data collected from end users' machines, covering all parts of the Edge UI, not just web pages.

Research conducted by Microsoft indicated that certain absolute responsiveness targets must be met for users to perceive the UI as fast. Data showed that there was an opportunity to improve responsiveness for lower-resourced devices. The new internal UI architecture relies on a repository of web components tuned for performance on modern web engines.

In a move to benefit the broader developer community, Microsoft aims to make some of its WebUI 2.0 packages open source. This initiative reflects the company's commitment to finding opportunities to improve the web platform itself even more.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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