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Microsoft is building a Chromium browser to replace Edge on Windows 10 (windowscentral.com)
1061 points by rattt on Dec 4, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 733 comments

What other options do they have? Even on HN you hear "I use Egde to download Chrome". Many of you here don't test your own work in Edge. At the same time Microsoft is getting the heat that Windows 10 is unstable and the last major update shows that it is. Very urgently, I imagine, Microsoft is trying to change the perception of Windows 10 by doing everything they can to make it more stable. Changing the browser engine is a big step in that direction. It is a step they have to do because.. and now comes the down votes... YOU don't test your work in Egde and because YOU tell all friends and family to use Chrome instead of edge. I bet many of you even helps friends and family in downloading it. So stop complaining about monoculture. Many of you helped create it.

No, I tell my friends and family to use Firefox. There is more than one decent browser out there. I don't like the idea of everything using the Chromium engine; monoculture _is_ bad and we shouldn't put our eggs in the one basket. That said, IE and Edge have historically been terrible both compatibility and performance-wise. It's not just websites that aren't tested in Edge - my experience with Edge is that all aspects of performance (initial load time, ui responsiveness, web site responsiveness) are terribly slow.

I applaud the death of IE and Edge. One thing I'm worried about though is that Chromium may take over the market and we end up with websites working only in Chromium based browsers and other important browsers like Firefox and Safari get left in the dirt.

It's not really better though - having only two real browsers is not good for open standards or the open web.

This will be especially true when Firefox inevitably shutters it's in-house efforts in a couple of years due to the amount of sites that won't work with it, and starts using Chromium too.

Staring into my crystal ball tells me Firefox will become "janky" in the eyes of users on account of how many sites don't load on it like they do Chromium (because developers will only test on the most popular browser, because THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS LITERALLY EVERY TIME).

> This will be especially true when Firefox inevitably shutters it's in-house efforts in a couple of years due to the amount of sites that won't work with it, and starts using Chromium too.

It seems very unlikely:

- Mozilla has been in a far worse uderdog position before during the IE6 era, with way more incompatible sites and less funding.

- Mozilla is not for profit. Fighting for the open Web is one of their goal. It always has been. They are not perfect, but their track record is damn good compared to almost any player of their size and impact in the tech world.

- Mozilla strongly invested in their own tech, including rewritting the browser rendering engine and taking huge risks such as create a bloody hole new language, rust, in the process. To my knowledge, the "oxydation" project has been a success so far, and rust is proving everyday that it's a positive force in the world as well.

- Firefox is the only decent mobile browser. I can't navigate the web without the ublock extension. I just can't.

- Mozilla keeps innovating. Their last brillant idea, the tab container, is worth switching on it's own.

- Mozilla has the hardcore geeks on their side. Even during the V30 to v50 transition period where Firefox was, at the time, clearly an inferior product, we kept using it to support it for the sheer ideal of it. We hoped it would come back from it, and it happened: Firefox is now a fast, lean and fantastic browser again.

- Privacy concerns are (FINALLY !) being taken in consideration from the crowd. And Chrome is terrible at this, so moving to a chromium core, while technically not related at all because you can set it up the way you like, would carry the stigma.

All in all, I'm incredibly optimistic about Mozilla et Firefox's future despite the market share taking a serious hit.

Do you mean uBlock Origin, or the scam extension uBlock?


> Mozilla has the hardcore geeks on their side. Even during the V30 to v50 transition period where Firefox was, at the time, clearly an inferior product, we kept using it to support it for the sheer ideal of it. We hoped it would come back from it, and it happened: Firefox is now a fast, lean and fantastic browser again.

I use Firefox. I always have. My experience is totally different to yours. Before FF57 it was a single process and it ran nicely on a 4GB machine with a 2009 Intel Atom processor. Afterwards it became much hungrier for memory and processor. I had to buy a new computer. (I tried Chrome of course but it is hungrier.)

I said "during the V30 to v50 transition period where Firefox was, at the time, clearly an inferior product", compared to the competition, not anterior version of itself.

The later is a more complicated matter, as it was 10 years ago, with different expectations, hardware, user base and web.

And I pointed out that prior to v57 FF was a clearly superior product to the competition for me. For me FF v52 was also superior to v57. Sadly v52 is now out of support and the result is that I had to get a new computer.

For me the order of utility is FF pre v57 > FF post v57 > Chromium based browsers.

The multiprocess architecture makes it run faster on newer machines, but slower on older ones. Have you tried disabling it (limiting to one process) though?

They've disabled that setting.

Not sure if I can disable electrolysis altogether, but I sure still can limit it to one content process, even from the GUI.

>Firefox is now a fast, lean and fantastic browser again.

This is not my experience. On my MacBook Pro it is slow and tends to cause system lockups on a regular basis. Everytime there is a new announcement about how the new Firefox has improved performance and stability I give it a try and each time am disappointed.

On my phone the Firefox browser is almost unusably slow and slow enough that it can't replace Chrome. Mozilla has released other mobile browsers which perform faster but they lack the features I need in my browser.

If one doesn't want to rely on anecdata, here [1] is a benchmark. Based on my experience and this benchmark, I don't how such a negative opinion can be supported.

[1]: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3213031/computers/best-web-b...

Clearly Edge isn't a terrible engine. Why wouldn't Microsoft just open source it instead of switching to Chromium?

I’m not sure, but I’m forced to use edge at work. There are a litany of details that annoy me about the browser—speed not being one.

Likely some suit just presented a convincing PowerPoint on how MS could save some dosh.

I don’t experience any lockup’s. I switched to Firefox as my main browser on Linux and macOS over a year ago full time. Google Meet finally works properly with it, so I don’t even have to use chrome for that last thing.

I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’ve never had a lockup in that entire time (and I run Beta), as far as I can tell, it is the fastest of all my options.

The very last thing that I notice any difference on is energy usage, for which Safari is still king. I don’t use Firefox on my iPhone, as there’s not much point (I wish Apple would change their restriction here).

My anecdotal experience shows a) less of a battery hog than Chrome for like 40-50 tabs b) now works with all my sites (exception being Google drive share box has blinky UI) c) it doesn't keep begging me to "sign in"

For this it's become my main work browser. At home I mainly use safari and it works great for 15-ish tabs.

Same here, I see a whole lot of marketing and people saying it is fast, but 10 minutes into trying it seems to just struggle.

Watching youtube in 1080p it struggles and CPU goes up, fans are on.

Scrolling Heavy e-commerce sites (amazon, jumia)... CPU goes up, fans are on.

Yet, run chrome on these same sites, with the same settings and no fan noises/frezes at all.

I seem to recall that there was a bug on macOS which made it eat too much CPU on non-native screen resolutions (UI scaling) for some reason, which likely explains drastic differences in how people perceive Firefox there.

Agree about the tab container. Incredibly useful.

Does mobile Firefox come with Ublock Origin built-in?

Not built in, but you can install it as easily as on the desktop.

> - Privacy concerns are (FINALLY !) being taken in consideration from the crowd

I don't know how true this is when considering all the calling-home (split over multiple settings in about:config making it difficult to disable) in modern firefox versions.

> Mozilla has the hardcore geeks on their side.

A lot of geeks are moving away from it to forks or to other browsers like qutebrowser, which actually makes senses considering that mozilla keeps trying to sabotage the poweruser demographic.

> I don't know how true this is when considering all the calling-home (split over multiple settings in about:config making it difficult to disable) in modern firefox versions.

I agree but between a broken leg and cancer, you choose the broken leg.

> A lot of geeks are moving away from it to forks or to other browsers like qutebrowser, which actually makes senses considering that mozilla keeps trying to sabotage the poweruser demographic.

This has always been the case. We try alternatives, that's what we do. It's sane, and no matter Mozilla's behavior, we would do it.

While I'm with you on the variety side, lest not forget that Chromium is at least open source, permitting other vendors to do a move like this instead of being left in the cold (and in this way probably committing back to the project). The flip side here is that building a fully featured browser engine from scratch that is "just" good enough to render 80% of pages correctly is a herculean, almost impossible task in 2018. Browsers went from graphic tools to browse the Internet to a full blown Operating System with sandboxed arbitrary code execution, intricate cross-origin rules, staged caching, full vector graphics animation systems and whatnot.

Although I would have loved even more choice (or MS championing the superb Firefox rendering engine instead), I think we're already well off with two fully featured and completely open source browser engines.

   > building a fully featured browser engine from 
   > scratch that is "just" good enough to render 80% 
   > of pages correctly is a herculean, almost impossible 
   > task in 2018. 

   > I think we're already well off with two fully 
   > featured and completely open source browser engines.
Well, that's the problem. The death of Edge brings us one step closer to a browser monoculture.

Which is apparently something developers want, since apparently none of them were working in the industry the last time we had a monoculture.

This is my point distilled exactly.

It doesn't matter if HN uses Firefox. It doesn't matter if web developers like us the world over use Firefox.

Ezra and Taylor just want to manage their personal brands and don't care about all that nerd stuff.

We'll build for where the audience is, and they're not going to switch for any of the reasons in this thread. It works good enough as it is.

Yes, Chrome is open source, but in marketing/critical mass terms this is no different than last time.

> This will be especially true when Firefox inevitably shutters it's in-house efforts in a couple of years due to the amount of sites that won't work with it, and starts using Chromium too.

Watching Mozilla align Firefox's extension API with Chromium's, I'm a little surprised that they haven't already made the move. If browser evolution continues along the current path, I predict Firefox will switch to Chromium within 3 years.

> Staring into my crystal ball tells me Firefox will become "janky" in the eyes of users on account of how many sites don't load on it like they do Chromium (because developers will only test on the most popular browser, because THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS LITERALLY EVERY TIME).

It's already happening. Until a year or two ago, the only time I ever opened Chrome was when a page using some sort of experimental API ran slowly or not at all on Firefox. Now, the number of mainstream websites I see with serious glitches in Firefox is increasing by the month.

I use Firefox as my primary browser and I don't find mainstream websites glitchy at all.

When I find a glitchy site in Firefox, I try chromium. Usually turns out it's glitchy there as well.

Same. I have found one boutique e-commerce site that wouldn't let me complete a purchase on Firefox, but mainstream sites all work fine.

Do you mind listing mainstream sites that have serious glitches on Firefox? It's my main browser, and I can't remember one single mainstream site that glitches on FF.

I just ran into a somewhat important website that didn't work right in Firefox. I tried creating an online bank account with Discover. The register account process only worked with chromium. Once I had an account, though, I could use it through Firefox.

New gmail is pretty awful in FireFox.

I'm not sure it counts if it's a Google website working better in a Google browser.

Of course it counts if you use Gmail.

It counts, sure, but frankly there’s too many competitive reasons for a non-search Google property to not work well in Chrome. An example of this being that Gmail doesn’t work particularly well in desktop Safari, nor in Edge. Chrome though, no problems...

Not mainstream sites, but I do seem to come across more sites that I have to open Chrome for.

I used to put it down to my plugins, but there are some sites (which of course I cannot name) that don't work, even with noscript / ublock disabled.

more sites than what?

i'd bet my money (not all of it, though) that firefox actually adopts servo as its rendering engine instead of chromium.

9/10 times when I encounter a bug either when doing web dev or just browsing the web, it's because of Chrome/WebKit improperly implementing standards.

It's not Firefox's fault if people aren't testing their websites on both browsers, just like it wasn't Firefox or Chrome's fault whenever people only tested their webpages with Internet Explorer and its mess of exclusive APIs and deviations from standards.

You seems very certain that Firefox will switch to Chromium but the recent trend is going in the exact opposite direction :

- Firefox Focus is switching from Chromium Engine to Gecko Engine.

- Huge amount of work in WebRender, they're starting to test it. If it lives up its promise Chromium Engine might fall far behind in terms of performance.

So maybe you're right but from what we can tell right now, the current trend for Mozilla is to remove the last pieces of Chromium and bet everything on a new generation engine which is not Chromium.

Cool. I'd love to be dead wrong about this, it's just that history is tempering my optimism.

I feel like Debbie Downer from SNL back in the day, so let's hope you're right.

The "open standards" is actually the reason why there can only be a limited amount of web browsers.

Let me explain: there is no true open standard (as explained at https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2008/03/17/martian-headsets/). You don't realize this until you make HTML5 games or apps, like when Google decided to break tons of HTML5 games with https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2017/09/autoplay-p...

So basically it is already really hard to support all web browsers out there, since there is no "standard". So what you do is you limit yourself to a few, and display "Best played in browser X", because browser Y has these strange issues, and might introduce others with a new update, and the same for browser Z and F.

So if you make rich web content such as games, the ecosystem will automatically push itself to a limited amount of web browsers.

Not to mention that fixing it for one browser may well break it for another. Usually it leads to compromising but even then still favouring one browser (usually Chrome) over another.

This is my biggest gripe with Edge/IE.

- Build some webapp and get it working correctly in Chrome

- Test on Firefox. It works 90% of the time. 9% of the time it's relatively easy to support. 1% of the time it isn't worth the hassle.

- Test on Edge. It works 80% of the time. 10% it's an easy enough fix. 10% you have to move heaven and Earth to fix and when you contact Microsoft, they know about the issue but won't do anything to help.

- Test on IE. It works 60% of the time. The other 40% of the time you start looking for a new job so you don't have to write the same code a second time for IE.

We've got a site that wont work in edge.

Edge guesses for each number on a page if it might be a phone number. The guess depends on your locale. If it is considered phoneable, edge removes all javascript and replaces it with a link to skype. Which is fun if skype is not installed, it just pops up a messagebox complaining you need to install something, and it's not going to tell you what exactly. The error is only half translated and lost any meaning in the process. Can't put a DOM breakpoint on it either, the bloody browser just ignores everything you do to that DOM node.

Fun, now a few rare numbers on one of our sites seem phone number enough for the dutch locale to break the site. Tell the user to switch to the french locale as workaround, or get any other browser. MS wants you to change the html to say: hey edge, this is not a phoneable number.

WTF, microsoft? Way to shoot yourself in the foot. What else did you hide in there that will bite me one day?


This. I raised an issue where Microsoft fucked up download prompting in IE9 (identified in beta released 2010) and broke ClickOnce launched via Javascript redirection. They haven't fixed it yet as of today (including in Edge!) and rep contacted me and said they deleted the case we had open.

We rewrote the app so it didn't use ClickOnce in the end.

I want to print this and stick it up on the wall by my desk.

> Firefox inevitably shutters it's in-house efforts

That is Firefox. Shuttering that kills the project. It's like, I don't know, Tumblr deciding to ban porn or something.

I've got some bad news.

I just heard about that and I'm still kind of puzzled. App Store money, yeah, but isn't Tumblr like 10% SJW kids / fandoms and 90% porn? Seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot.

There's always one.

The main reason developers prefer chrome over firefox is the devtools hands down. When firebug was amazing in the jquery era, we used firefox but now chrome's devtools is simple, fast and full featured to use. If firefox's devtools is as good as or better than chrome's maybe things can change!

I used to think this too, but After seeing some colleagues using FireFox dev tools and making the switch (back) to Firefox myself, I realised that there really isn’t that much between the two and in fact it’s mire a matter of what you’re used to.

Much like the debates about other developer tools in fact (text editors et al).

It's all the small things. Till recently there weren't even react devtools for Firefox. Almost any dev-oriented extension targets chrome first. Chrome has a great devtools protocol, and node conveniently happens to support it too, which is also why many node debugging tools will use chrome.

I use Firefox for casual browsing, but all work-y stuff I do in chrome. Sometimes I'll start debugging a site in Firefox and then some behavior is a bit "off" or missing and I just go back to Chrome.

And the only reason I'm using Firefox is because it's not Chrome. I wanted a different browser that looks a bit different to always be aware of the difference between work and personal.

It really is the small things. The one that gets me constantly is that you can't resize the columns in the Network tab.

I appreciate a lot of the stuff Firefox has been doing, but Google was very wise to realise that first class developer support was the winning move.

What specifically do you find better in the Chrome devtools? I find Firefox devtools to be slightly nicer (but I don't really think either one has a massive edge over the other).

1.speed - FF tools always take time to open a script file. Chrome hickups only for huge files which is understandable. 2. Sourcemaps doesnt work most of the times in webpack bundles. Dont know why. (Maybe they tested only for chrome or something.) 3. This new FF devtools was developed after chrome took the dev mindshare and familiarity. I don't see FF devtools very compelling to be used all the time. No disrespect, but there is no incentive or visible improvement in productivity. 4. I'm a react dev now, the react dev tools plugin in FF is laggy. Not pleasant to use. I can go on like this. But maybe for your use case, FF devtools is better.

one plus to FF is that when you hit an end point that is JSON it actually formats it as JSON rather then just printing to the screen like chrome

For me the FF dev tools are not as good as Chrome's. For the basics I need both browsers offer the same functionality. However, on my machine, FF has performance problems with the dev tools open. Also, when I rearrange the width of the columns in the network tab, after some seconds and without knowing why, the columns return to their original width.

1. speed. On a million+ line code base chrome starts the app in about 5 secs. Firefox over a minute. 2. Blackboxing. Easy to setup and configure in chrome and you can preserve you settings. 3. Blackboxing combined with event breakpoints. Chrome lets you set event break points and combined with black boxing will drop you right into your code on an event. This is awesome.

Just tried a cold start, Firefox took less than 3 secs to start, granted it's on an SSD. What OS are you using? I've heard it's less optimized on a Mac than on Linux.

They mean starting their web applications javascript

Websocket frame inspection in Firefox is not possible.

Agreed, the Chrome Devtools are amazing for development and the pace of new features helps in testing new standards.

Not sure about that, because after all, most users use their smartphones and iOS has quite a big market share. So there's at least Chromium and Webkit. Web devs simply won't get away with testing only in Chrome that easily.

12% is not a very big market share compared to Android https://www.statista.com/statistics/266136/global-market-sha...

I'd like to see microsoft/mozilla/google collaborate on "THE" browser engine then all this compatibility bs goes away - they can all ship their own cruft and advertising but with a single rendering engine we can forget about multiple browsers forever

Apple and Google did that for a while with Webkit powering both Chrome and Safari. A shame they fell out.

> It's not just websites that aren't tested in Edge - my experience with Edge is that all aspects of performance (initial load time, ui responsiveness, web site responsiveness) are terribly slow.

100% agree here. I'd be way more worried about monoculture if any other browser would be discontinued, but the MS browser history was and is just a shitshow.


I can't even remember how many years MS and even some people in my vincinity were going on about how amazing the new IE (or later Edge) were and that MS would totally be changing their ways now. Usually, if you used their browser for more than five minutes, that sounded more like a bad joke.

To this day, the (properly updated) Edge on my dev machine does user interaction orders of magnitude worse than FF/Chrome. Tabs frequently stop functioning properly and even won't reload anymore, until you find out that some subprocess crashed and you'll have to close and re-open the site to try again. The adoption of new web standards happens at a crawl.

Yet, at the same time, their "Edge is totally a next-gen browser! Promise!" rhetoric leads to actual companies prohibiting users from getting and using an actually useful browser like FF.

Their dev story sucks, too. The best of their jokes was when someone wanted to convince me on how cool VS2015 was for HTML/Javascript development. Yes, I totally want a 16GB+ IDE that literally can take minutes to load from an SSD and frequently freezes to do nimble HTML editing m(

The funny thing is: They actually arguably fixed that one in the mean time (VS Code), but their browser politics remained. Perhaps this signifies the same shift there?


TL;DR: I actually wouldn't mind that much, but MS has been repeatedly overselling and underdelivering for years and just slows down everyone else doing it.

TL;DR: I actually wouldn't mind that much, but MS has been repeatedly overselling and underdelivering for years and just slows down everyone else doing it.

I know what you mean, but that is mildly amusing and not entirely false.

I recently made the switch to Firefox from chrome. Webrender is a revolution in web technology since it primarily uses the GPU for rendering resulting in much faster and smoother websites. I'd urge everyone to give webrender a shot, it feels noticeably smoother than chrome.

Yes, webrender is fast, but keep in mind that if you're using webrender you will see bugs, even crashes, that you wouldn't otherwise. Use it only if you're willing to accept that in order to help Mozilla test and improve it.

Disclosure: I work for Mozilla but not on webrender.

> monoculture _is_ bad

From a security point of view, I think that's true. What are other problems?

I think everybody using the same rendering engine would be a net positive.

It gives the Chromium project massive power over web standards. This happened with IE6 and was a bad time for the web.

It was a complete and totally different time for the web. I was waiting for folks to claim an open source project with outside contributors is the same as a proprietary company moving fast internally and shipping anything and evetything without following a standards process.

    > proprietary company moving fast internally and shipping anything and evetything without following a standards process.
Well, that's the thing. What's to stop Google from doing that?

It won't be as overt as Microsoft ramming shitty versions of IE down people's throats for a decade, but please rest assured that Google's goal is profit and domination. I'm not saying they are worse than any other for-profit corporation, but they are a for-profit corporation.

    > It was a complete and totally different time for the web
You lack a very basic sense of vision. You understand that the past is different from today, but seem unable to comprehend that the future might be different from today.

20 years ago: Microsoft was doing a pretty good job with the web! IE3/4/5 were consistently better than Netscape. Developers generally welcomed the IE monoculture because developing for both Netscape and IE was a real pain in the ass.

10 years ago: Microsoft had a stranglehold on the web and it suffered greatly, to the point where governments had to intervene (the EU mandating browser choice, etc)

Today: Google is doing a pretty good job with the web!

10 years from now: ????????????

Well I'm hoping internet explorer doesn't die, unless the webbrowser control moves on to supporting whatever replaces it.

It's easy not to be left in the dirt, just keep the same pace of the other vendors in implementing support for new JS features.

A modern browser is effectively on par with an Operating System complexity-wise. You need to implement a huge number of APIs (many of which are security-sensitive), you need to have a good UI, you need to be super fast while making all that play together nicely etc...

If you don't have a large team of developers and a few millions in the bank you basically don't have a chance.

As Google keeps pushing more and more features in the browser the bar keeps getting higher and higher. I'm actually surprised that Mozilla still manages to mostly keep up, but since it's mostly running on Google's money it's still not quite a relief.

> A modern browser is effectively on par with an Operating System complexity-wise.

I don't think this is even remotely true. Those same arguments (using apis, good security, good ui, speed, etc) could be made for any piece of non-trivial software. But there's no way a browser is "on par" in complexity with an operating system.

I maintain that. Actually I think a modern browser is probably more complex than many small kernels.

It's probably not the best metric but my checkout of the Linux kernel (a very advanced OS with support for many architectures and devices) is at about 14 million lines of C code (per sloccount), although if you remove device drivers and only count the "core" of the kernel you end up with about 3M lines. I don't have any browser source code available on my computer but a website[1] says that Firefox 20 (released in 2013) was around 4M lines of code and was rising quite fast.

Again, this is comparing apples to kernels but it shows that it's still within the same order of magnitude as far as code size is concerned. The maintenance burden alone on these large codebases is huge, you need teams of engineers just dealing with things like testing and regressions. The bar is extremely high for competition, you won't have two clever engineers write the next killer browser in their basement.

[1] https://almossawi.com/firefox/

Consider the complexity of supporting all the dozens of CPU instruction sets and a few dozen more built-into-the-CPU hardware peripherals/extensions (e.g. SSE, hardware random number generators, etc). There's probably a thousand different combinations thereof across x86, ARM, MIPS, etc. There's only so many different kinds of hardware out there (and half as much quirky bullshit if you take out all the Sony laptops!)

Now consider how many websites that exist with all kinds broken code, use of dead APIs, old versions of, well, everything. Yet a modern browser can display those sites just fine 99% of the time. Users expect this!

Making a modern browser that works across all those nearly infinite combinations is considerably more difficult than making a kernel boot on a new board with a plethora of datasheets out in the wild to download at your leisure.

I won't really complain if there are just 2 render engines out there in the market, given that both are open source. It will make work hell lot easier for so many developers and the competition and development will stay healthy.

Open source doesn't reduce the issues with people writing to the implementation, not the spec - leading to unintentional interactions and trivia suddenly becoming impossible to change.

If edge dies, and FF shrinks further (both of which seem likely), FF will in effect be reduced to an alternative implementation of chrome; not a implementation of a web browser. Both Edge and FF already include chrome-quirk emulating features; you can expect those exceptions to become the norm.

Apple - for all it's wealth - isn't likely to bother bucking the trend here. The same forces pushing MS affect Apple too; and given their high-end only marketing and various political factors, they will be completely ignored in much of asia - and that's a lot of devs creating a lot of stuff that is likely to depend on chrome-only features eventually.

Safari is leaving itself in the dirt. It's the new IE with slow, quirky, and unreliable features. They made some advancements in privacy, but so did Firefox without giving up on actual rendering and standards.

> unreliable standards

I presume you mean that Safari doesn’t support experimental standards that Chrome is pushing because they align with Google’s businesses strategy.

This is exactly the problem with a browser monoculture. If we’re not lucky Google will be the new Microsoft.

“Will be”?

Google owns Android, which is the Windows of the mobile world. They push a development monoculture based on their platform. They leverage their de-facto monopoly in some sectors to penetrate other sectors. They hoover up young developers and keep them in gilded cages that encompass as much of their lives as possible. The only difference is that their cash-cow is advertising rather than an office suite.

Google IS the new Microsoft. They are MS just before the Halloween Papers and the antitrust trial: rich, dominant, and mostly well-liked by the dev community at large.

Nah, wrong comparison. Microsoft mostly stayed in their corner (Software) while the others (Google, Amazon) are branching out to everything else. Things like Waymo will probably even take over the revenue of pure digital services (though it's tied into). Transportation is a big business.

Better analog would be Wayland-Yutani I guess. The corporations that are manifesting currently are nothing that the world has ever seen before in size and interconnections.

Not that I'm against it, it's just my observation. I'm an avid customer of both.

Microsoft went into hardware, mobile, services, ISP, games and even TV (remember MSNBC?), before they stalled because of antitrust action.

The comparison is precise, Google is the MS of the new millennium.

No, it doesn't even support basic features well, like SVG. The Mask implementation just wrong, you can crash Safari in iOS with a single SVG filter, only one color interpolation is implemented.

But worst of all, it seems like Apple just doesn't care. Bug reports don't seem to be read at all, while when reporting an issue for Chrome you usually get a reply within 24 hours.

So true! No apple fan but google has only its own interests in mind. Google is no saint as they like to portray

I hear this a lot, but I find Safari to be an entirely usable browser day-to-day - the reduction in power usage is very noticeable vs Firefox or Chrome.

More than usable. For the majority of users I'd say it is a better option, not as resource-hungry as Chrome or chromium based browsers.

And, while I'm not a hard-core JS programmer, I've found Safari's dev tools to be just as good as Firefox's or Chrome's.

Same! I prefer Safari dev tools for inspecting the DOM, CSS prototyping, debugging, seeing request/response headers, local storage info. I use it every day, and find its interface much more intuitive and way less bloated. However Chrome devtools are better when it comes to performance profiling, and having extensions like React devtools make me wish that was a capability of Safari.

Meanwhile Chrome is a bloated resource hog that, despite its resource usage, still scrolls like early Android phones. It's embarrassingly bad compared to Safari's buttery smooth scrolling.

Is it? I find a lot of these performance views are very subjective depending on multitasking, hardware, gpu, extensions, etc. Chrome has always served me well, and the built-in sync and consistency on mac + windows is what I like best. I would rather compete on features and general standards compliance, and then let people choose their own experience on top.

When everything else runs silky smooth, using vanilla Chrome on vanilla macOS feels like a giant slug. For something so fundamental, I find it baffling Google is unable to do it properly.

You're talking about Google's own product. Chromium is open source and all that "bloatedness" can be taken out. There are already many companies out there that use the Chromium rendering engine have already taken the unneeded bits out and customised the browser with their own features.

>Safari is leaving itself in the dirt. It's the new IE with the slow and unreliable standards.

You mean the actual reliable standards -- and not just rushing to add shiny stuff before it's standardized?

Yes, I'm talking about finished standards, not proposals or experiments. Safari has the tech preview version for that stuff, which is fine.

I don’t think it’s really a reasonable comparison.

Safari does tend to release features a bit later than Firefox or Chrome, but it’s also an open-source, standards-compliant browser that includes almost all modern web tech that the others support. In daily use, I rarely find anything that isn’t supported, with the one exception of issues around WebRTC that have been fixed for some time.

The comparison with IE is flawed.

Sorry safari isn’t great but it’s nothing like IE. It’s got an open rendering engine maintained by multiple corporations as well as contributions from others. WebKit the core of safari works on many different operating systems unlike IE that is basically a web view into activex controls for native windows only applications. Not at all comparable

Define Monoculture. For me, both Firefox and Chrome are developed under the US law, and in this sense, they are both the same.

Microsoft only releases it on one OS. so if you happen to use a Mac or Linux you need another browser. Chrome and Firefox are the only viable options.

Also Microsoft are victims of their own legacy, namely what they did with Internet Explorer. Changing the box model, not adopting standards, not fixing bugs, causing no end of headaches for people having to support IE and so on. Trust needs to be earned.

Apple had the same problem and briefly tried to have Safari on Windows but that didn't work out well and honestly I don't think they were ever that committed.

Firefox is a viable alternative bit they still do stupid shit. My favorite is prompting me to restart to install an update when I open it. Well I just opened the app to do something but sure I'll interior what I'm doing so you can install an update that you could've done when I wasn't using it (ie like chrome).

It's 2018. The era is office like updates is over.

In 2018 in a real OS (linux) it shows up along with all the other updates in a central gui for updating your OS that depending on your flavor may notify you of available updates for example by incriminating the number in a tray icon but never forces you to install except when it is convenient for you.

If you install locally. Example downloading the nightly build to a local dir or installing in windows you may receive notifications of a new version when you open it but you can safely dismiss them with one click and update next Thursday if you like. At no point will it decide that its time whether you like it or not like windows update.

> My favorite is prompting me to restart to install an update when I open it.

It's the best they can do. Windows carries a lot of baggage and bad decisions around its OS design. One of them is that when a file has an exclusive lock (eg an .exe file that's running) it can't be deleted. NTFS and Windows Kernel don't implement reference counting like a proper OS.

So Firefox (or any software package with in-place self-update functionality) needs to wait until the application is shut down to perform updates. Firefox team chose to do it before launching the app. They could have done it after closing it. Both approaches have their pros and cons so it's not easy to criticize them either way.

I am not an expert on this, but I believe Chrome downloads a new exe waiting to be copied over when it is launched. The Firefox updater on the other hand is a whole progress bar experience where a lot of things seem to have to happen to perform an update.

This is correct. Chrome handles updates via a completely separate .exe that runs via the Windows Task Scheduler.

I know this because my company pushed out a Group Policy update a while back that removed the ability of users to add/remove scheduled tasks and it broke Chrome updates across the company.

Also, this problem (not being able to patch a running app) is unique to Windows because of its terrible file locking implementation (that are the result of a bad decision made decades ago!). In Linux you'll get Chrome, Chromium, and Firefox updates along with everything else and it won't disrupt your use in the slightest. You can restart the app to apply those updates at your leisure!

Firefox does this too, see Mozilla Maintenance Service.

I believe the problem with Edge is (correct me if I'm wrong) that files that would need to be updated are used by Windows Explorer, so any update would need a restart of the machine.

I thought they pushed Windows 10 and Edge to let go of legacy cruft. This is so year 2000 that app update needs a reboot.

I remember being so excited to try windows ME... and let down so, so, so, so hard.

Today I learned that VMS wasn't a proper OS, because proper OS let processes blindly overwrite files from others.

Unlink with reference counting, not overwrite. This allows the program to "delete" itself but the file remains as an unnamed file on the drive until the last program that references it exits.

If the file name was the last hard link to the file, the file itself is deleted as soon as no program has it open.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlink_(Unix)

The only problem with IE box model was that they implemented it before the standard got finished (and changed) so it was impossible to fix it without breaking already existing web pages.

The situation is not very different from now with Chrome implementing unfinished proposals.

The problem isn't that Microsoft implemented an unfinished API. It's that they implemented an unfinished API and didn't update it later to reflect the changes.

When new APIs are in development (in a standards body) by all means implement the incomplete/early version in your browser! Just put a warning somewhere for developers that changes will happen and that they should expect to have to update their code along with the standard as each iteration comes out.

Microsoft made a huuuuuuuge mistake by implementing an unfinished API and then refusing to make breaking changes later. Breaking changes are to be expected when you do stuff like this!

Back when MS did this they were still highly arrogant about their position in the browser market and probably still thought they could get away with their usual "embrace and extend" bullshit... Where they decide "the standard" regardless of what any standards body or the rest of the world/community thinks.

I'm not defending MS, but it's also not that they went and intentionally (and suddenly) introduced box-model incompatibilities, that's just not the whole truth.

BTW: I've recently found this MSDN blog with explanations on some of their decisions (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/)

It's very different with feature flags. Browser prefixes was a nice idea in theory but should have predicted it wouldn't work out.

Coupled with an indiscriminate upgrade policy it is actually reasonable to deprecate features from chrome.

> Changing the box model

Most of the things you said I agree. But honestly the box model is one of these. The additive model standardized by W3C isn't really popular in the web designer crowd. I cut my teeth in an era where W3C and standard compliance were huge things, so I accepted the additive model without question. Nowadays though many designers opt for Microsoft's "broken" box model aka subtractive model through the box-sizing property.

There was nothing "broken" about it. It was just non-standard at the time, but the old standards were wrong, like they were on many matters (floats for layout, for example, was a load of shit).

Floats were just supposed to be used to control text floating around images and other inserts. It was never designed as a general-purpose layout mechanism.

Sure, but that's largely because standards bodies chose not to introduce a general purpose layout mechanism despite it being very clear from 1990s websites that the need existed, and instead focused on deprecating layout elements from HTML and persuading developers CSS was the only valid way to do layout.

CSS layout capabilites is a superset of what is possible with presentational HTML, so deprecating presentational HTML is not really the issue. Many of the crazy float hacks was to achieve layouts like expanding sidebars - the so-called "holy grail layout". But this could be cleanly and easily achieved with display:table. So why didn't people use display:table? Because Internet Explorer did not support it. Microsoft disbanded the IE team and did not develop the browser for many years, but the browser still had a big enough market share that developers had to support it.

Few things to note:

- Edge is (kindof) available on Android. It uses the Chromium engine, but includes bookmark and password syncing with the desktop version.

- Firefox will (depending on platform support) update in the background and notify you to restart (Windows), or it will apply the update at app start (macOS).

They should apply it when the last window is closed (checking the OS is not shutting down).

On Arch Linux, the browser would often crash after the system upgrade installed a newer version of Firefox. I read on their bug tracker that the upgrade prompt was a workaround for this (or at least one reason for it).

Was it due to the upgrade removing files the current version expected to be there?

Similar to how pacman (by default) removes all modules for the current running kernel, during an upgrade?

..which then breaks pretty much everything that relies on dynamic module loading, such as USB.

They should just do it when you close the last window, if the OS is not shutting down.

On Linux, Firefox does not really have a choice. When the system rips out some vital libraries from under you because of an update, you can continue to use the old libraries in processes where they are already loaded. But new processes (i.e. new tabs) will not be able to load the old libraries.

It's similar to how, when you install a kernel update, new devices are not recognized anymore because the loadable kernel modules on disk are for the new kernel version, but you're still running the old kernel version. (There is the workaround employed e.g. by Debian where old kernel modules are left on the disk until they're cleaned up manually, but that opens the "manual cleanup" can of worms.)

> But new processes (i.e. new tabs) will not be able to load the old libraries.

I think it should be possible under Linux. Firefox could pass the old libraries as file descriptors to its child process and and the child could dlopen those through /proc/self/fd/... . Or a more robust mechanism along these lines. But I wouldn't seriously suggest that Firefox should do something like this, restarting Firefox every once in a while is fine.

> It's 2018. The era is office like updates is over.

It's 2018. If you don't want to deal with updates like that, then stop using a shitty OS like windows.

Is there anything to complain about here really? I'm a lot more upset over Firefox market share slipping than this. Edge sucks, and it's not because people don't test on it. It's because it sucks. It sucks in ways that Microsoft can literally only blame themselves for. Me not testing software in Edge didn't cause the design catastrophe that is UWP to be used for Edge. It's not very developer friendly anyways, it doesn't even like to connect to local servers or display local pages.

I think everyone wants healthy competition in the web browser space, but I didn't want a closed-source browser that didn't run on Mac or Linux with a UI I can't agree with and an already disappointing track record. It only hurts worse that I humored Microsoft once when they forced my browser back to Edge only to discover that practically I still couldn't stand it.

Maybe we should feel bad here, but I don't. If I feel bad for anything it's for the good people at Microsoft that brought us this great piece of engineering delivered in such a disappointing fashion.

I can't quite put my finger on it but something feels wrong about blaming the general populace for Edge's failure as a browser. Microsoft is one of the wealthiest companies on Earth. They've had every opportunity to use every marketing channel and dump resources into the team to make Edge an obvious winner. But they didn't.

I'm not sure what more they could do. They're extremely pushy about it in Windows. It takes several steps to make it stop pushing Edge when you open any web links.

I don't use Edge (or Chrome) because I don't trust the companies that make them, and it's one small piece of my computing life I can withhold from them. So...there's nothing they could do to make Edge good enough for me, without fixing the lack of trust I have toward Microsoft, which I guess is a marketing problem, but also a behavior problem. (Surprisingly, though, I think I feel less animosity toward Microsoft than I do for Google these days. Which, is hard for me to believe about myself, given how long and how much I've hated Microsoft over the years.)

Chrome didn’t come to dominate the desktop browser market by forcing users’ hand, but by offering a better experience. The few times I used Edge, nothing gave me a remotely better experience, I only noticed small annoyances and moved on.

> Chrome didn’t come to dominate the desktop browser market by forcing users’ hand, but by offering a better experience.

Disagree strongly. Reasons:

- Google has been extremely pushy with Chrome, including lying (IMO) about it on their front page, a place where no other ads have been shown ever (IIRC).

- Their own products often don't work in other browsers. Might be an honest mistake but personally I really don't buy the idea that Google cannot afford a QA team, so I'm going with the idea that they classify all this as "really useful bugs".

- People keep telling me that Chrome is better. I've tried to like Chrome (before I started shunning Google, I used to be a fanboy) and for me it could never replace Firefox for work (development, support and research). So I go with "better for some people".

- Today I'd argue that more than ever Chrome is a worse choice. It's not like they've stopped sending every address you type in back to their AI, and recently they've strayed so far from "Don't be evil" that even they realized it was becoming a joke. (Something something about animals on a farm and pigs painting the barn wall at night.)

Chrome started becoming really popular when Firefox started becoming terrible around 10 years ago. Chrome was much faster and had better features. Firefox was bloated and slow and was pretty much resting on its laurels. These days it has inertia on its side, not that it's necessarily better anymore (I would argue Firefox is better now)

It doesn't matter how pushy or honest is google. Users have to go out of their way to use chrome instead of the default browsers and they still do. And I haven't heard anyone saying "I'd rather use Edge or IE but site xxx only works on Chrome".

> It doesn't matter how pushy or honest is google. Users have to go out of their way to use chrome instead of the default browsers and they still do.

Not entirely true. Chrome as been bundled with other popular software for significant time.

Also saying someone has to go out of their way to install it when it is advertised on the front of Google.com isn't my definition of "out of their way".

What has chrome ever been "bundled" with? And if it was there was no reason to people to simply not use it.

You just can't admit that Chrome does have its merits for some non-logical reason...

> What has chrome ever been "bundled" with?

The JRE is at the top of my mind.

> You just can't admit that Chrome does have its merits for some non-logical reason

Disagree again. And I don't really understand where you get that from.

I admit Chrome is nice for a lot of people.

The reason why it owns the market today is because it is a decent/good browser (except for its huge privacy issues) and because Google has put an enormous effort behind pushing it everywhere all the time.

So many conspiracy theories. When did HN become this hysterical...

Yeah it's really off putting. A lot of people here cannot come to grips with the fact that many tech companies are big because their customers people love their products; this includes Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Nobody is pulling a fast one on me when I buy my iPhone and Mac. I know full well what Google and Facebook are doing with my data when I use their sites.

I. Don't. Care.

They have products and services that I want and I'm happy to fork over cash or data to get them. Please take your conspiracies elsewhere.

I used to be like you. I've defended Google until recently.

But after China, the killer drones and how they are destroying other players for no other reason than greed and carelessness I don't defend them anymore.

I still trust them with my data in their cloud, for now, but I try to reduce their power.

If we are lucky they might even become nice again in the future.

They used to be wildly profitable even when they were nice.

Please let me know where I either stated something as a fact that isn't, or didn't point out that something was my personal opinion, interpretation or how I remembered it. The closest thing I find that might resemble a conspiracy theory in my post above is probably the part about convient bugs that makes Google products lag in other browsers.

In that particular case I agree: it might just be that the front-end devs at Google are seriously unprofessional or that their QA team is really understaffed or bad or something.

But I think I pointed to that alternative, just that I didn't find it plausible.

Reasonable alternative explanations for why the search results page would keep one core on my machine spinning up, but obly in Firefox or why there's always something with Calendar (but only in Firefox) might be accepted.

But personally, even as a one man team at the moment, I try to make sure it works in all browsers.

These are not conspiracy theories. They’re practices of a search engine monopolist trying to get an unfair advantage in other markets. Compare and contrast to old Microsoft and browser bundling.

> Chrome didn’t come to dominate the desktop browser market by forcing users’ hand, but by offering a better experience .

That, and popping up that "works better in chrome!" thing on every one of their web properties for a few years.

The way you phrase this almost suggests there isn't still an obnoxious pop-up partially obscuring search results every single time you go a Google Search while not logged in with a competing browser to this day.

Yeah, I should have been more clear. You are right, they are most certainly /still/ doing it.

One of the ways Chrome gained marketshare was bundling with heavily used apps.

Install Acrobat Reader? If you didn’t notice the checkbox, Chrome’s now your default browser.

> I'm not sure what more they could do.

Don't release a browser which cannot be made to adblock. I suspect that 90% of the vaguely techy world laughed at Edge the moment it's clear they'd have to accept autoplaying videos on webpages again. And like it or not those reactions filter through family and friends pretty effectively.

Doesn't Edge have AdBlock and uBlock extensions?

It didn't for a long time.

Right - for quite some time, Edge didn’t even support BOOKMARKLETS, much less extensions! April 2017: https://alanhogan.com/ms-edge-is-a-bad-browser

I know what they could do. Release it as Internet Explorer Edge and include IE11 as Lecagy Internet Explorer 11.

> They're extremely pushy about it in Windows.

Now they're starting to push it on mobile too. Swiftkey just added a non-removable bing search bar that also prompts you to install Edge for Android.

> I'm not sure what more they could do. They're extremely pushy about it in Windows.

One of the things that pushed me away from Edge. Being pushy is not the same as being persuasive.

Edge is a terrible product: it's a poor clone of its competitors and it has no distinguishing feature. Microsoft needed to actually innovate here and they didn't. Nor did they find an unmet need. Edge exists because everyone hates IE, not because it has something new for the user.

Edge had some unique fullscreen integration with the Win10 app model and some really fast speed initially. But it became surprisingly buggy, I mean that really: it has a lot of glitches, sometimes crashes and weird bugs with bookmark folders on my computer. No idea if this is common but I never had these problems with other browsers. What I also find incredible is that at some point they changed the superior way of dragging tabs out into windows into the way that Firefox does it. With Chrome you drag a tab out and you get a full live(!) view of the window as you drag it. Now as with Firefox, you just drag the tab box thing around and once you drop it then it expands into a window.

Maybe one "feature" is that Edge is the only browser where Netflix runs with 1080p (1920 x 1080 i.e. full HD) streaming due to requirements of the encryption layer (within Windows?) not working with other browsers. I verify this regularly with Chrome/FF/Edge. It's unfortunate that Edge is such a horrible experience, 1080p is rarely worth it, as Edge crashes or jitters a lot, even when running on Ryzen 8-core, 64GB RAM and OS on a M.2 SSD.

There are FF/Chrome extensions that make Netflix run at 1080p. It is a DRM problem but apparently the DRM is not very effective.



it has no distinguishing feature.

Tab Set-aside, the thing where you can suspend tabs and then bring them back later, instead of having a browser with dozens of open tabs all using up memory.

It integrates with OneNote and pen input, you click the "add notes" button and the open web page turns into a screenshot with a OneNote toolbar for highlighting and drawing on it, which can save or share the note.

It has that dropdown tab bar preview thing which FireFox has only recently sort-of-cloned in its alt-tab-with-previews feature.

It sends your browsing history to Microsoft by default.

for a tablet-style browser it is more tablet-y, large-buttons, touch-input focused than IE11 was, so even if that's not innovative or distinguishing it fits Microsoft's dreams for Win 10 a lot more than IE did.

> Tab Set-aside, the thing where you can suspend tabs and then bring them back later, instead of having a browser with dozens of open tabs all using up memory.

I'd never heard of this, so I thought I'd give it a go: it's not on the right-click menu but on a separate icon on the top left, where the System menu should be so I'd never looked there. It turns out to be handicapped by not being able to save/restore individual tabs, you can only push all of them off and then restore ones you want.

Edge is rather hostile to tab-heavy users in other respects - it doesn't restore them after close, and it just makes them smaller and smaller without any kind of scrolling. So beyond about 20 tabs it becomes hard to use, and you'd never reach 200.

Firefox doesn't restore after closing either until you enable "Restore previous session" in Options. I just re-installed Windows and FF last week and this bit me the first time after a reboot.

As for tab-heavy users, I find FF Quantum to be horrible in this respect, and I keep missing Chrome, which allows a ton of tabs and resizes them, albeit slightly unreadable after ~40-70 tabs, but at least I can see the icon, which is usually enough to find what I'm looking for. FF resizes until ~5 characters of the title are still visible, thereafter requiring "< >" arrows to scroll through tabs... unfortunately if you click one of those arrows too fast (twice in < 1 second), it will skip 10-20 tabs or jump to the completely opposite end(!), which can be frustrating to get back to the tab that is just barely hidden off-screen. I have seen this complaint in forums but still haven't found a reliable workaround other than editing some javascript relating to the default theme (I forget the details)? I have reverted back to tab/ctrl-tab to cycle through tabs.

Why do people still use tabs on the top? Tabs on the side is so much better.

I use Tree Style Tabs.

It's a pity firefox still doesn't support it properly by allowing the top tabs bar to be hidden without userChrome.css hacking. I just ignore the top ones for now.

I can't find the parent to my comment.. but I'm fairly certain this thread was talking about default-installs of browsers, of course a lot of complaints can be fixed with plugins, but how many users actually go through the trouble? If a high enough percentage of Chrome users were installing uBlockOrigin on Chrome, I'm sure Google would do something about it.

Regarding Tree-Style Tabs... I wish I could agree with you, I have been trying various Tree-Style Tab plugins on multiple occasions over the years, often for months at a time... before always giving up out of frustration and resorting back to tabs on top. I honestly can't tell you the exact reasons, but it's generally a frustrating experience... initial transition takes a couple days, plus issues like lack of proper hotkey support e.g. tab/ctrl-tab for tab switching, ctrl-f4 to close a tab, ctrl-t to open a new tab, some or all of those hotkeys tend to not work properly. Multi-screen support was also... lacking, for lack of a better description. There were various other minor annoyances and quirks with every plugin... and I tried various plugins for FF and Chrome before ditching all of them. I will probably try again soon, now that FF Quantum has been out for awhile, hopefully more plugins have been created.

If you would like to customize your Firefox tab experience, install Waterfox [0] and then install Tab Mix Plus.

[0] https://www.waterfoxproject.org

There is one distinguishing feature: swipe. It lets me move back/forward by swiping across the face of the Windows tablet.

Its distinguishing feature is that it can read EPUB books. I'm not entirely sure why you'd want that in the browser - I think someone looked at how all browsers these days have native PDF support, and thought, "I wonder if we could squeeze something else in there".

I find your disdain for that feature to be amusing, because one of the first plugins I've downloaded for Firefox, SeaMonkey, and Pale Moon whenever I've installed them on a computer is an EPUB reader. As much as my genuine preference would be to have a web-browser with a "Do One Thing Well" mindset, the fact is that EPUB is great because it's just a compressed and ordered set of XML files, which a web browser is very much built to read. I don't see a need for Calibre when either my web browser or Sumatra PDF can pick up and display my EPUB books properly.

So for me, the fact that I don't need an addon to do that would definitely have sent me to using Edge over Chrome or current Firefox, if I were on an OS that included it.

My disdain for that feature comes from a position of someone who reads e-books a lot. A browser is about the most useless place I can think of putting it, because it is very rare that I want to just take a peek at an ePub file while I'm surfing (unlike with PDFs, which serve as a de-facto pixel-perfect text format for the web). A proper book reader app needs e.g. library management.

Ah, see, there's the big difference. You and I have vastly different use-cases - something I've noticed seems to get disregarded lately in dev circles. I don't need a software library manager, I already have a file manager (Windows Explorer) for that, and I really can't help but read to the end of a chapter. So all I need is the XML parser and renderer. There is no such thing as 'one true way' to use a computer. I don't ask you to use my solutions to the problems you face; I just ask that if you develop one of the programs I rely on for that solution, that you don't go and break it.

Over time, I've found that (in general) Microsoft is less prone to breaking what has already worked than Mozilla or Google. I don't know about Apple beyond iOS, and I don't know about that for the backend, because on the iPad, the only non-OS Apple software I use is iBooks (hasn't changed much in terms of 'tap a book, read a book'), Notes (hasn't changed much in terms of 'open a note, type a note, it autosaves'), and Podcasts, which also hasn't undergone much change. Heck, it's the App Store itself that's most broken for me now, to the point that I've come to rely on sites like appapp.io when I want to find a program or game; and then I pop over directly to the app store page for the software. With Google, I'm glad I never used GMail in the first place because I've heard the redesign is terrible. Maps are still pretty good though there's been some new "features" that made my life more complex; but every new version of Android that I get when I change mobile devices seems to bring with it a new host of settings issues and things it doesn't allow me to do without rooting it. Mozilla, well, let's just say the downturn started when Australis was mentioned and there have been no significant bright spots (Pocket, the introduction of telemetry, & Mr. Robot being significant lows).

Sorry for going a bit sideways to the topic, but honestly, TL;DR: different strokes for different folks. I hope you genuinely like your desktop ebook reader of choice so much that you wouldn't feel a web browser can do the job as well, but I don't need the heavy-duty support of a separate reader program when the addon or built-in feature works for my needs.

I don't have any objections to the OS having ebook reader out of the box - I just think that it would be better as a separate app, rather than a browser. Browser is for, well, browsing the web. Reader is for working with ePub files, for starters - even in the scenario which you describe. And it can still be a basic viewer app that just opens on double click, with advanced functionality (like a library) available for those who need it.

To me, it's the decision to shove that functionality into Edge that feels like a typical developer shortcut: they wanted ePub, and ePub is basically HTML, and Edge already does HTML, so let's do a reader as an extension! But it doesn't really make any sense to me UX-wise. Again, the only reason for something to be in the browser like that is if you routinely open documents of that type via links. And I just don't see people doing that with ePub - note how your scenario doesn't involve anything of a kind.

I really hope they keep that feature - even most Linux distros can't just read e-books out of the box.

They want to avoid a second round of antitrust investigations. The first round was spurred in large part by the marketing push behind IE.

It's not antitrust unless you're pushing install your own products and only pushing your products.

You knowblike Google do if you access any of there services not in chrome "download chrome here", "this site works best in chrome".

It's not antitrust until (a) you're a monopoly, and (b) blackmail/bribe OEMs to avoid competitor products.

Is Chrome really that far off from IE on market share when the MS anti-trust talk started?

Chrome could have 100% market share and it wouldn't necessarily be a problem. If I understand it correctly, Google would have to abuse their market position in some way.

Last I checked, Chrome blocks autoplay of videos with sound on websites. Except for YouTube, where they allow it.

If they were a monopoly, that would seem like a pretty clear abuse of market position.

that's not enterily true. on dailymotion videos also start with sound while the video is autoplayed.

As far as I know it has more todo with the visibility/size of the video.

Here is the ruling (I've written the above before: https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2017/09/autoplay-p...)

Various other sites can get added to the whitelist if their videos are big enough and the user plays them often enough. But YouTube starts out on the whitelist. It's possible that dailymotion does too. The BBC, doesn't seem to be on the whitelist, though.

I'm not suggesting that its' necessarily a problem, except in cases where Google abuses their position to the negative effect of competitors.

Perhaps (a) is close, but (b) should also hold.

I really doubt this is the reason; for starters, the update of windows 10 i have now removed the option to disable Bing in the start menu, nor can I change the search provider. They're headed right back to where they used to be.

If they are going Chromium based, its only to ensure everyone uses their chromium browser

They're embracing Chromium.

How can I test Edge when Microsoft don't release it for Mac and Linux?

A browser for a single OS? Talk about monoculture.

http://modern.ie Free Windows VirtualBox images you can use for testing!

Not sure if you are being sarcastic, but if testing on your browser means downloading a 4GB+ image every couple months and having it take up all my memory in a clunky VM and messing around with how it gets its IP and then trying to update itself with another multi-gigabyte windows update while I'm tethering and did I mention you have to redo it all every couple of months?... then I'm not testing against your browser.

Then how are you testing your browser? Are you assuming that testing Chrome on ThisOS is sufficient testing for Chrome on EveryOtherOS?

One thing is testing if the fancy custom react component works properly in a particular browser at all, that should be the case in a certain browser+version across OSes and you'd want that available all the time.

The other thing is testing if some CSS is acting up in a specific Browser/Browserversion/OS/Screensize/Phone combination; that is probably a job for QA.

There is also http://saucelabs.com/ and https://www.browserstack.com/ who have real devices and allow you to run automated tests.

> and messing around with how it gets its IP

Standard VirtualBox is either bridged or NAT, never had a problem there.

> and then trying to update itself with another multi-gigabyte windows update

Now THAT one is a real problem. MS to this day didn't bother to release a Service Pack 2 for W7.

You've used these, right? It's an enormous pain to have to spin up a separate VM per version of Edge/IE to get a "Your copy of Windows might be stolen" message and have some finite period of time to test.

I appreciate that they have these, but it's a real annoying hoop to jump through, and I've long suspected the hope is you'll just have your company buy a cheap windows box for testing.

I can test the other browsers without doing this dance.

How do you test Safari without an Apple device?

(Hint: you don't)

I'm a web developer with an Android smartphone and Ubuntu as my main OS, Windows as my secondary.

My primary means of testing on iOS/Safari is to be very careful about which features I target by checking caniuse.com and the JS compatibility list. And that doesn't protect you against iOS randomly doing something stupid like pretending to give you access to localStorage in private browsing mode but actually write everything to /dev/null instead.

Exactly. And only because most web developers are doing their job and work around all those annoying little bugs in Safari /that never seem to get fixed), the average Safari user thinks it is an entirely usable browser.

Or more specifically, because so many web developers use Macs and therefore Safari (or have superiors that use Macs and Safari) day to day and don't have to do any explicit testing to find those bugs.

Yeah, Apple is also bad at this, I'm not sure why you're asking about Safari in a Microsoft thread, though.

Luckily Safari has one fourth the userbase so it's a little easier to ignore them.

I tried this once, but the terms are onerous, or they were when I tried it last. They expire frequently, they're huge (and I am on mobile broadband, which becomes very expensive if I run out of my data allotment in a month), they're limited in terms of versions.

Microsoft could change the game by open sourcing Edge, but I guess the key goal is getting all that user data, not having the best browser. (But, Google manages to get all the user data and have a mostly open source browser that people unbelievably have a lot of positive feelings about.)

I used those VMs maybe 10 years ago (I remeber one with Windows 8 maybe.)

Then I stopped and none of my customers ever complained. Either nobody uses IE/Edge or the web applications I work on are too simple and render well in every browser on every OS.

Actually I remember a few complaints: somebody using IE7 (?) on Windows XP when it was already EOL (my customer decided not to support it), a bug of Safari we investigated and worked around (can't remember the details), something not working on Chrome because I tested on Firefox (my bad, one such a bug in 10 years.)

Am I sorry about the death of Edge? Not really. Safari next, but being Apple what it is, this is not going to happen. I wish we have only browsers that work across operating systems.

That has Edge 17, but not any past versions, and not Edge 18 which is the latest stable version.

With Chrome/Firefox, I can test in any version, as well as the development versions. And I don't have to jump through any hoops to do it.

Microsoft partnered with BrowserStack a while ago to allow free testing of Edge - https://www.browserstack.com/test-on-microsoft-edge-browser#...

I like BrowserStack, and I use it a lot at work, but it's way too slow to be part of the core code, test, debug loop, simply because it's far from a native experience.

As long as that's the case, support for Edge/IE is always going to be a second-class citizen for me. Safari, too, since that's only on Mac OS, and God help you if you need to debug web apps for iPads. There is no good way, and the only tool you have is a shotgun (dev tools don't always work with BrowserStack & mobile Safari, and we currently have an iPad, but no Mac to debug it with.)

> God help you if you need to debug web apps for iPads

Why invoke God, a Mac is a few hundred $s?

Honestly I think second class citizen is acceptable, even preferable. Chrome is always available if the site is just too compelling to ignore. But most of the web is user-hostile, and directs its barrels at Chrome.

"Just shy of 1000" is a curious definition of "a few hundred". And definitely not a trivial expense for many OSS/indie developers.

The same way you test safari on a Win or Linux machine?

I don't think they were advocating for Safari either...

I took that as a subtle rib against Safari

Safari and Chrome are closely related.

Not so close that they don't often display things differently.

Gmail and Google Docs for instance operate fairly poorly on Safari. Gmail often has UI glitches (e.g. the top part sometimes scrolls up permamently with no way to get it back). Google Docs on Safari lacks support for many features that Firefox seems to support—I've seen many examples of Docs that appear fine on Firefox but appear mangled in Safari. The engine in Safari seems to differ enough from Chrome that it has different approaches to rendering things. Either that or Google is deliberatly pushing faulty codes to Safari. Not sure which...

The engine used in Chrome is a fork of the one used in Safari, which is a fork of Konqueror's engine (KHTML).

Safari runs on iOS (iPhones, iPads) too. Huge installed base.

The same can't be said about Windows Phones

Nobody at my company uses an iOS device. I'm the only one not on Windows and I use Ubuntu.

If you look at the global marketshare, Android dominates iOS.

The point is that I can test on Windows without a Microsoft device or giving money to Microsoft to install Windows somewhere. I have no way to test anything on iOS or even Safari.

Android dominates iOS in terms of market share, sure. And testing for Android is a much worse nightmare.

When I test my site in Safari in an iPhone and an iPad, I’m fairly sure it works on every other reasonably recent (think three years old or maybe even older) iPhone or iPad. Android? Well, there are so many browsers on so many different Android versions, am I supposed to own a fleet of devices, each with a fleet of browsers? (Plus the fact that I can’t really justify purchasing a flagship Android phone for testing, so I only have a crappy one and I hate every second with it; that’s more of a personal thing.) So in the end my attitude with testing on Android is don’t even bother.

You are saying like if almost 1 billion of WIndows 10 users aren't huge installed base?

Well they don't all use Edge. The majority of them use Chrome!

Exactly. Everyone on iOS uses Safari (either direct or as underpinnings for "Chrome", "Firefox" etc browser interface someone might want to put on top of it)

Maybe not Windows phones but definitely Android phones. Because Edge is available on Android and seems to be quite popular. And that is a huge market, bigger than ios'.

I kind of agree, but there's often some double standard in place: Having a minor slip in Safari would often be totally unacceptable because some designer is Mac user and sees those. People are often extrapolating their own perspective to the whole world, which is known as a common error when designing things ("you are most likely not the average user").

I a feature is broken in any major current browser, this renders the feature unusuable. I do a lot of SVG and boy you have to be extremely careful when using advanced (and some basic) features, because chances are that one major browser implements this feature buggy or not at all. And Safari/Webkit certainly has most issues with SVG support.

Theoretically this is why we have standards. Practically this is a nightmare that involves virtual machines, multiple devices, copious use of caniuse.com, and obscure bugs that only appear on a particular version of safari on a 10 year old mac. RIP web development.

It's unironically true too. IMO, Chrome owes a lot of its success to interoperability. For the past 10 years Chrome has been steadily growing while IE has been continually taking hits. Even Firefox stood its ground for a while until users starting migrating away (I'm not a Firefox user, so what caused this?).

Working across different OS and devices has pretty much been Google's go-to strategy, and it's worked pretty well for: Web Browser, Office Suite, and Cloud Storage (not naming them all). In retrospect, I would say an F-up by Microsoft and Apple was fighting interoperability. It worked for years in a PC world, but as the world became more mobile-centric that strategy faltered.

The timing was right to deliver a browser that "works everywhere" for most people, while IE and Safari wanted to maintain the walled garden experience in their own domains. For a lot of people (and also generalizing in the non-technical population), being able to stick with a single browser _feels_ like a win because of the consolidation. Someone who owns a Windows laptop and an iPhone could now have their bookmarks and account synced across devices with the (nearly) same browser.

My main gripe with Chrome is that there isn't mobile adblocking built in, and there is no mobile extension support. (This is where mobile Safari + Firefox Focus for adblocking actually outpaces Chrome). If Google can address this, then that would be a game changer for Chrome on iOS.

Microsoft knows IE is a sinking ship, and their best bet in the browser market is to take a page out of Google's playbook. I'm not sure if Apple actually cares or if they have too much of an exclusive (maybe a better word?) mindset to want to open Safari up to Windows and Android.

From a business perspective, there's a lot to be gained by being a leader in the browser market. Chrome is a great way to lead people into Gmail, Drive, Docs, etc. (more Google services). If Microsoft is going to make a play, now is the time to do it to attempt to pull users. They are already losing the cloud fight to AWS and the browser fight to Chrome (and the mobile OS fight to iOS and Android). If we start to see more cloud-based desktops, such as an improved Chrome OS, then Microsoft is in trouble since Windows is their last bastion left. I am all for hopping on the dissing-Microsoft train, but there's actually some respectable forethought here.

Now the pressure is on Google to keep innovating Chrome, as they would love to have people signing up for Google accounts and using Chrome prior to pushing out a better Chrome OS (which I think will be the cross-platform Android successor). If desktops head in that direction, then I would expect a sizable amount of people to migrate away from Windows to Chrome OS (if it works on desktop/tablet/mobile).

Then, I honestly wonder what Apple will do. They are clinging to the iPhone and iOS for dear life. It makes up a ton of their business. Apple nailed it with creating the top UIs on mobile and desktop (my biasedly-objective assessment), and having cross-device syncing with Messages, Calendar, Notes, iCloud, etc. (Also, having a UNIX-based desktop is niceee). Now I wonder if they will do anything with their device prices. They really have a lot of potential to acquire Windows converts, but Apple is so tied to hardware manufacturing revenue it's a pseudo-Catch-22. At ~$1k for a phone, ~$500-$1k for a tablet, and ~$1k-$2k for a laptop, that's inherently not something a mass-adoption level of people could comfortably afford. There's a question of how price sensitive consumers are, and what Apple stands to gain/lose by changing from more products -> more services (revenue from digital/ads/data/subscriptions). I don't know these answers, but this is something Apple will need to address in the near future.

What things are approaching: AWS runs the internet, Chrome is the door to the internet, and iPhone is the foundation that provides utility to reach the internet (while Android phones do the same for more people). It equal parts interesting and unnerving.

> My main gripe with Chrome is that there isn't mobile adblocking built in...

I doubt this can/will ever happen, considering Google's (Alphabet's) main revenue stream is still advertising, they would be chopping their own legs off by including adblocking.

The same way you test Safari on Linux and Android.

It's pretty easy honestly. Download a free VM and test away: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/v...

In practice Chrome is not that cross platform. WebGL is an example: Chrome renders differently due to its use of ANGLE, has bad performance due to its GPU blacklist, etc. If you want to support Windows you have to test on Windows, period, regardless of browser.

More generally this take was good back when IE was dominant. Now it's just terrible: Edge is resisting the monoculture, not propagating it. Chrome is working hard to make the OS irrelevant by defeating platform conventions. Standard Mac UI idioms like Quit and Hide don't even work properly in the latest Chrome. Eventually the platforms will become an undifferentiated soup with GMail key equivalents and innovation in OSes will end; why even bother to have more than one OS if it's just to run Chrome?

> It's pretty easy honestly. Download a free VM and test away: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/v....

Unless you have SR-IOV setup this doesn’t tell you if the website is slow because of lack of GPU acceleration or something you could fix.

Still at least you can see if it actually works, unlike Safari.

Yes Apple could do leagues more to improve testability of Safari; they're by far the worst in this area.

The broader point is that applications may perform or behave radically differently even under a Chrome monoculture. So you're still on the hook for platform-specific testing, if you actually care.

I wouldn’t say radically... If it’s the same engine then platform testing becomes a nice-to-have not essential.

I test my app in Edge, every time a new version is released. When it inevitably fails, I shake my head in disbelief that Microsoft still hasn't paid a dev to spend a couple months fixing their IndexedDB implementation, which has been incomplete since the IE days.

Can't expect a small rag-tag group like Microsoft to compete with a rich corporate behemoth like Mozilla, I guess :)

> every time a new version is released.

Exactly, which was 2 updates in 2017 and 2 updates in 2018; Microsoft isn't even attempting to play in the same ballpark as their competitors.. which is doubly frustrating every time Windows 10 tries to convince me that edge is better and that I should give it a try.

> Exactly, which was 2 updates in 2017 and 2 updates in 2018; Microsoft isn't even attempting to play in the same ballpark as their competitors..

I actually like this kind of stability that Edge offers.

> Many of you here don't test your own work in Edge.

This is at least partly self-inflicted damage by Microsoft. Edge only works on Windows 10, which not only excludes all of the regular Win 7 and 8 desktops that haven't been push upgraded, but also kiosk-type devices and at least some VDI (which use Windows Server with a "Desktop Experience" that does not include Edge).

So Microsoft ended up with IE11, which is supported but frozen, Edge that doesn't even run on all Microsoft platforms, and no browser for Macs (because IE for Macs is long dead). So if you are trying to deliver or support a Web application, Microsoft aren't helping, hence "just download Chrome".

Firefox didn't support enterprise Windows deployment as well as they could have (though they now seem to picked that up), and can't match the market power of Google. I would like to see a grass-roots move back to Firefox, but it's going to be up-hill work.

You can test against IE and Edge for free with VM images from Microsoft.

You can, but all of those issues apply to user desktops, and they won't run VMs. There's no advantage to anybody apart from Windows-only corporate system administrators to even try to work with Microsoft browsers right now.

Actually, Microsoft's insistence that IE or Edge only run on Windows has been the main reason why I don't test either.

You can get free virtual machines for testing, but it's still a slow, annoying and irritating experience to test in a Windows virtual machine.

That and the fact that IE has always had terrible developer tools.

When you spin up an IE11 on Win 10 virtual machine to test something and windows decides to run updates. Ain't nobody got time for that man.

> Actually, Microsoft's insistence that IE or Edge only run on Windows has been the main reason why I don't test either.

If, like me, you are developing for a business, it is best to keep your opinions about Microsoft to yourself and do what is in the best interest of your employer/clients.

I don't test it in Edge as much because there is no Edge on Linux or MacOS and I don't want to keep virtual machines running all the time to do it. And there is absolutely no benefit in helping them get more users on their proprietary browser. If they made it multi platform and open sourced it, that might have been a different story. I do test in Firefox and Chromium and only then if someone complains I look at Safari and Edge.

I prefer Edge to chrome actually, and especially professionally where chromes security settings won’t accept internal SSL certs as safe.

Bing is terrible, but I don’t think Edge is.

Chrome trusts the OS cert store on Windows. Works perfectly.

Perhaps Edge still relies on Common Name where Chrome needs a valid SAN Attribute.


> At the same time Microsoft is getting the heat

So instead of giving users more control over the update process and the telemetry settings, without dirty tricks to reset these and so on, they decide to use another browser. Fine, but that doesn't solve their basic problem with the perception of Windows 10.

If Edge had a shorter development/release cycle and even came close to catching up to Chrome on features, I'd be happy to suggest it to people. I have time and again seen one feature or another just not work right when I have tested with Edge.

Right now, I'm just happy that I am able to put IE behind me at work. TBH, I like having some competition. I think the single bigest miss with Edge is the fact that people search for "Internet Explorer" and many wind up running that in windows out of habit, and those that know better prefer Chrome or Firefox.

Beyond that, the fact that it's shoved in your face at every other turn. Chrome syncs my settings cross platform. And I just haven't liked IE/Edge UI any time I've tried either. Despite issues I have with Chrome, it just works more like I want it to than the alternatives.

Frankly, I'm happy to see MS making a shift. A lot of tools have been made using Electron from MS at this point, with more in the works. So it makes sense that they'd make a shift. For that matter, I'd like to see better platform support with Node style APIs for application development in general, which may be the final target for these changes.

Is it really as bad as you say? Microsoft is not giving up on making a browser, they are switching rendering engine. I see this as a good thing overall -- one less rendering engine to worry about during dev, but still have a different browser maintained by a prominent company (that comes with the most used OS in the world, even).

The net effect is that, stuff that Google tries to pull (like auto logging in accounts in Chrome based on your gmail) will still be negative for Google and still cause people to switch; because you have options. On the other hand, devs can expect code behavior to match more closely now even in MS Anaheim because its underlying rendering engine is now the same as Chrome. It's not monoculture of product choice, it's monoculture of underlying rendering engine, which seems like a good thing to me.

Well, it's not my fault that I can't use Edge on my operating system of choice. It's not "YOU don't test your work in Egde" but "YOU don't test your work in Edge but you wouldn't be able to". So please, do not blame the users, but Microsoft.

It's not so hard to run it in virtualization to test.

It's the same effort it takes to run Linux in virtualization to test your software on it yet nobody does.

Seeing what they did to the electron on VSCode, I'm really hopeful about their version of Chromium.

This is actually what gives me hope they create a UWP like platform that runs well in windows based on Node-style interfaces and maybe React Native for Windows.

> YOU don't test your work in Egde

Yup, because it doesn't have the market share to justify it.

Plus, for many years, IE compatibility was an extremely unpleasant aspect of my job, and I'm certainly not alone there. Mainly because they didn't really care about improving it or keeping track with browser standards after "conquest accomplished". Some people get what they deserve.

Wait, I haven't heard of these recent stability issues with Windows 10 or experienced them myself. Do you have a link about it?

Maybe OP is mainly referring to the recent update issues where entire folders have been delated as part of the "forced" updates.

I've had to fix friends' computers who had their user profiles corrupted by an update so they can't log in.

> I've had to fix friends' computers who had their user profiles corrupted by an update so they can't log in.

An extremely recurrent issue with windows 10 updates (in particular, the big ones that happen every six months and behave like a complete OS reinstall) that manifests in so many different forms.

I've seen it do stuff like only breaking UWP apps while leaving everything else intact. I've seen it break UWP apps + the start menu. And then I've seen it do the login breaking thing. The thing those symptoms have in common is that they were always solved by simply making a new user profile and logging into it then transferring the user data into the new profile, proving that the root of all horrors comes from bugs in the user profile migration that windows does during updates.

I'm always horrified by the process not just because of the bugs but also because of how inane UWP is. Every new profile created will also get its amazing share of UWP crapware downloads, because of course it wouldn't make sense for software to be installed system wide, nah let's do that every time a profile is created and let's pull the microtransaction ladden mobile games while we're at it. Creating user profiles takes so much time on older acquaintance computers with spinning rust too.

It was a bad decision to make the logo similar to Internet Explorer, that alone is enough reason to not use it.

They can change the tech as much as they want. They can hire armies of engineers and make the browser 1000% faster than Chrome... but if they reuse the stupid logo it will fail again, and again, and again until they give up and forget that logo ever existed.

Unfortunately, for some people that "E" means "internet"

In the same unfortunate manner that the chrome icon means the same to more? Not saying that Chrome is a bad browser, but we railed against the IE monoculture, we railed against Webkit when Blink was released. Now we have a Google run monoculture.

Nah, that was an obvious and clumsy sleight-of-hand "it's not IE, nononono, don't look there, look here, hey presto! A completely new browser which is not at all a reskin of IE!"

You do know that it's not a reskin of IE, and the rendering engine is different?

To be honest I thought changing the logo made sense since I didn't really believe they built an entirely new browser. Despite all the press about the core being somehow different I figured it must still share a lot of code (and I wasn't the only one [1])...

[1] https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-edge-hit-by-many-of-...

Perhaps not everybody is as shallow -- or emotionally invested in the logo

> What other options do they have? Even on HN you hear "I use Egde to download Chrome". Many of you here don't test your own work in Edge. At the same time Microsoft is getting the heat that Windows 10 is unstable and the last major update shows that it is. Very urgently, I imagine, Microsoft is trying to change the perception of Windows 10 by doing everything they can to make it more stable.

At least in Germany the perception of Chrome is "Google spyware". That is also the reason why in Germany (and I think in many other EU countries, too) Firefox has a much larger marketshare than in the USA. Since Windows 10 already has its spyware image in Germany, this just reinforces the impression (right or wrong) that Microsoft wants to become an even more spyware company.

P.S.: Of course I test my work in Edge.

Nonsense, I tell my friends and family to download firefox. I also tell them horror stories about Google and how they eat children to reinforce brand loyalty.

But to be serious, they are just the better browsers. Maybe the trident engine or whatever it is called right now does perform very well and I see no issues. I just cannot understand how anyone opening the settings of Edge would not get an instant aneurysm. I can't believe that people think this to be the "the new way" of structuring settings. It is just horrible and unusable.

But changing just the engine probably means the horrible things about Edge are here to stay.

I am no web developer, but if I have an application on the web, I do test compatibility with Edge.

Win10 does have serious issues, the engine of Edge was one of the things not relevant to the topic at hand.

> Microsoft is getting the heat that Windows 10 is unstable

Sorry for going off-topic on rant here, but yesterday I had a 3 months old win10 workstation refuse to start the built-in calculator app. It worked fine the evening before, and no updates were installed in between...

This is apparantly a common problem for many users. I found lots of possible solutions, but of course, none of them worked for me. I took ownership of install dirs, redeployed the appx, every hack I could find...

Eventually I gave up and copied calc.exe from a win7 computer -- of course it doesn't run on win10, that would be too easy. So I installed a third-party calculator and apologized to the user on behalf of Microsoft...

> Very urgently, I imagine, Microsoft is trying to change the perception of Windows 10

Nothing will change my perception of win10.

Developers just need to do their due diligence to ensure their sites and products work on the entire spectrum. Including Opera, Safari, Chromium, Firefox, ie/edge, etc. Does it really add that much development time to just open a site and compare across multiple browsers?

Because Edge might have a good rendering engine, but it sucks as a browser. You can't even drag and drop files (images, html files, pdf) to it. Totally useless for daily work. Just 1 example, why would I recommend a sub-par alternative?

I also test in Edge, always looks good and then I close it.

> You can't even drag and drop files (images, html files, pdf) to it.

Worse, you can’t even save from it. IIRC my first interaction with Edge was trying to grab one of my scripts or config files off GitHub. Opened the raw text file and couldn’t save it. Searched frantically for “how to save from Edge”, got joke answers like “you can print it”. What a disaster.

Surprisingly, casual Windows users have been "trained" to use Chrome and Firefox instead of IE/Edge, and Edge has the same logo so they know not to use it. So there's not much casual usage of Edge to begin with even though it's the default OS browser out of the box.

If Edge were multi-platform, then I'd consider it worth my time. But as Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux users continue to grow, I'm not going to waste my time making sure it works for a small amount of Windows users who barely even use the browser to begin with. Not to mention I'd need to dual-boot or run a VM just to test my work.

Why do we devs get the blame for avoiding their crap browser all that has burned us over and over? Repeatedly. For years. Hours and hours of frustration on this front.

Encouraging the best-working alternative is the creation of monoculture?


Edge isn’t IE. That you don’t know that is indicative of the problem.

It almost doesn't matter. Do you remember the hours and hours spent trying to debug something on IE that worked perfectly on Chrome/Firefox/Safari? All because MS didn't follow the standards that everyone was getting used to and had (mostly) advocated?

The thought of having to do anything remotely similar to that makes me shiver. Since MS made me go through that years ago, I simply will not go through that again. They did such a poor job with IE and it takes time for wounds to heal. Might sound a bit pathetic, but working life without having to develop for IE is much nicer. Chrome, Firefox and Safari generally behave in a similar manner. Yes, there are some inconsistencies, but nothing like IE. Especially the earlier versions (6!).

Edge is an evolution of Internet Explorer. They removed some of the quirks they have added over the years, modernized the engine, but it's Internet Explorer to its core. It's just rebranded.

No, it's a new browser built from the ground up with none of the baggage of IE.

Thought so too, but MS has apparently said it is a fork:


> The Spartan rendering engine (edgehtml.dll) is a new component and separate from Trident (mshtml.dll). The new engine began as a fork of Trident, but has since diverged rapidly over the past many months, similar to how several other browser engines have started as forks prior to diverging. The new rendering engine is also being built with a very different set of principles than Trident - for example: a focus on interoperability and the removal of document modes.

Any reliable sources? I'd love to read more, and correct my knowledge if it's wrong.

Edge uses forked Trident (named EdgeHTML) which was stripped of legacy code and tries to be compatible with WebKit engine: https://www.neowin.net/news/whats-powering-spartan-internet-...

That's also what I tried to say in my previous (grandparent) comment, no? :)

Was reading about Edge before posting comment so I guess I was bit too late to help :P

Have you opened up the dev tools?

The problem is that devs got so sick of IE6 not being standards compliant (despite the fact that it was released before the standards were finalised and it was so good that people kept using it for years) that they refused to even contemplate any MS web browser ever again?

Nope. IE6 was great, when it was released. That was...in 2001, seventeen years ago. Then MS sat on its hands for years, leaving IE6 in the dust. Then it suddenly woke up, and released IE7...which didn't differ much...and IE8, which was only about a year behind everyone else. And then MS sat on its hands again.

I remember the Second Browser War, and I find your account disingenuous at the very least. (And that's even before mentioning the bundling tactics)

Uh, wow - I said "it was so good that people kept using it for years" meaning "until 2005 or something", not "and IE6 is awesome and we should all use it until today".

I think your post here is more about your own PTSD from having to support IE6 than it was about my post. :S

Nope again. "People kept using it for years" because the web was Built For Microsoft Explorer, to the tune of `if (!navigator.userAgent.match(/MSIE/)) window.location='notsupported.htm';`

Not at all similar to today's web Built For Google Chrome, notatall, noooo.

> YOU don't test your work in Egde and because YOU tell all friends and family to use Chrome instead of edge.

my last interaction with edge was that it crashed twice on the path to downloading chrome - as in, clicking the "X" to quit it wouldn't work and I had to kill it in the process manager. This was on a pristine Windows 10 that was just installed.

Very often when I had to use it (or didn't notice that windows opened it for some reason) I also could not close any tab.

Edge's browser engine is fine; people don't use it because it's not the defualt and Microsoft won't deprecate IE or just make it a not-so-prominent app. They can't keep IE alive forever yet businesses are not dropping it. They have to kill it at some point.

The problem with Edge is it's missing features other browsers have had for years, including IE. Microsoft just needs to add those features, not reinvent their browser again.

> Many of you here don't test your own work in Edge.

I'd have loved to if it'd work on my development environment (! Windows) They should be focusing on porting IE to other operating systems and not leaving the control of a core component of their offering to somebody else.

They've been doing some good stuff lately, and I'm sure this is another honest attempt towards doing good to developers, but they got this one completely backwards.

Before using ie to download Chrome, IE was used to download Firefox.

Chrome out-innovated Firefox for a lot of years and won the demand for a web browser (and now sell to it).

The new Firefox, is similar to the new ground breaking features of a Chrome when it had come out. A few years of recommending Firefox will have an effect.

Today I use Chrome, Chromium and Firefox. Firefox is my daily driver and it is no slower than Chroumium

Yeah, monoculture is bad, but also having to constantly joggle between different engines when developing for web is not all that great either. So this is also a step toward a dream of having fully standardized set of web browsers' features. It means less polyfills, less compromises, more modern js and css and ultimately better and leaner sites and web apps experience for users.

I actually install firefox through chocolatey and chocolatey through a powershell command, so I get to never open Edge even once!

Well to be fair, at many places developers are pushed towards deadlines and leads don't care if stuff works on <insert semi-exotic browser>. Oftentimes it's just a semicolon or one extra css rule to accomplish browser compatibility. Nobody says thanks for extra compatibility.

I test in Edge, and then I get shit cause it doesn't work in IE11. The only family member I tell anything about what tech to use is my wife, and she uses FF like me, which is irritating because then she logs in and out of my services and I have to do double the work.

> which is irritating because then she logs in and out of my services and I have to do double the work.

Multi-Account Containers let you keep multiple sessions, to avoid that problem: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account...

Or the good old Firefox Profiles. Because Multi-account containers are still not 'that' separate when it comes to browser settings and add-ons etc.

Well, if Edge was open source and worked on non-Microsoft OSes, then maybe people would test on it.

Embed Gecko or Servo?

Maybe this is just my opinion and not a fact but I have created tests and have found that Edge has the best quality of all three (Chrome, Firefox) when watching videos on Netflix. Can anyone explain this?

Gonna play devil's advocate here. Monoculture, is it really that bad? What if all these browsers start contributing to the chromium project so that we have one solid core. Chromium being open source won't end up as another IE as many seem to suggest here.

Besides, we have already settled on Google, Linux in Cloud, Windows on consumer and corporate computers. Its simple process of elimination. Market is deciding what should get eliminated. Anything that doesn't have a steady or abundant flow of resources behind it will die eventually. Of course ethics and morals don't stand chance when it is survival of the fittest but that has been the case for billions of years.

I test my stuff in IE, and honestly its not worth the extra time. So many inconsistencies with firefox & chrome, at least firefox behavior is well documented, but IE is not.

> YOU don't test your work in Egde and because

I already know the results of my tests. It won't work so I won't even bother testing. Because Edge doesn't support WebGL2.

Well, Opera is a good browser that no-one uses, so it can't be just that. Tbh UX just isn't Microsofts strong suite (although I really like Windows 10).

Sorry, Opera is dead, and has been for years. It's now also frankenChrome, and none of the old, infinitely customizable options from the actual Opera has remained. The only thing left alive from Opera is the name.

At least it adheres to most standards, unlike many browsers. Many people don't care about customization.

That’s because it’s just re-skinned Chromium: “In 2013, Opera changed its layout engine to Blink, the layout engine of its competitor Google Chrome.”[1]

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_(web_browser)

i would not trust any Chinese browser with my data

Are you not concerned with NSA or other five-eyes countries (or Israel, which had unfettered access to raw data from the US[0])? I mean, it's downright dystopian what the Chinese are doing lately in regards to privacy, but what advantage will they have over you as an individual if they have all your data? If I had to (or was able to) choose which government had my data, the NSA or the Chinese government, I might (perhaps naively) choose the Chinese.

On a related note, Microsoft gave the NSA complete backdoor access to Skype years ago[0], not to mention Outlook.com and who knows what else the NSA "needed" to build Prism and other tools, which remote contractors in Bahamas apparently have access to (thanks Snowden!).

[0]: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-...

[1]: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-...

i use open source browsers in mobile and desktop, i am yet to see open source Chinese browser

Market share isn't decided by power users like us. We influence it, sure, but most of the world just uses whatever's preinstalled on their OS.

>Changing the browser engine is a big step in that direction

I doubt Browser's engine has much to do with application UI, which was the main issue of edge.

> What other options do they have?

Especially after Mariani left almost 2 years ago to join Facebook. I assume everything went to shit shortly before he left.

We don’t test with Edge because it’s less than 2% of our traffic. Same reason we don’t test Opera or the browser on the old Blackberry phones.

After 20 years of cluster fuck after cluster fuck release, I am never ever going to consider supporting Internet Explorer with any of my work.

It doesn't matter how good Edge would be. The damage is done.

It's like the old adage: You cannot un-kick someone in the face.

Was your problem with IE or Microsoft? If it's the former, then you shouldn't have a big problem with Edge because it's an entirely different browser.

Yeah. I don't trust MS with my browser needs any longer. Call me difficult, I can go with that :)

Great comment. Thank you. I see a lot of people (developers mostly?) here complaining about browser monopoly, Google Chrome and still saying "yeahh..well..I tried Firefox..but..yeah..dev tools..why bother to test for FF? Chrome is faster blah blah...". Almost everybody talks how a laptop with 16 gb ram is so "meh" for them, they need/have computers which got 32 gb of ram at least and somehow it's still not enough for Firefox. Back in the days, I didn't ditch Firefox even on a machine running fucking Vista with 3 gb of ram; because I cared about them, I cared about their mission - the open web. I thought "even only one person is a plus". I think I did my best as an end user. Vista + 3 gb ram + maybe worst years (circa 2009) of FF, how much can a system get worse? I've never really understand these whiners, couldn't stop seeing them as hypocritics. I'm not able to agree with them even a slightest and I don't think they have really good reasons, haven't seen one.

i don’t think some css layout bug or js script will crash windows. The people complaining about monoculture probably don’t install or recommend Chrome

Uh, no? I tell my friends and family that Chrome is the new IE and they should get Firefox or a different Chromium-based browser. Stop projecting.

I don't test for browsers. I test for web standards.

So you've never actually shipped a product?

web standards encompass a vast collection of specifications. It is reasonable to expect implementations to diverge.

Then there is the rapid adoption of mobile platforms, which have become mass-market while at the same time evolving very rapidly, new versions every year. The result is a dispersive medium, a combinatoric sea of browsers, iOS and Android versions, and a crazy variety of form factors.

Simply attempting to adhere to web standards is not sufficient.

> Simply attempting to adhere to web standards is not sufficient.

It is sufficient. The trick is to be good at marketing. What I mean by that is to niche your product properly and not to care about the rest.

Gives you a much better overall structure for you business in every regard as well.

I can discuss this point further…

The other point here is the question of wether we should force browser vendors to comply to standards. Like we did back then on the desktop to end the browser wars.

Again, I would discuss this point further…

Is there any tool to test for standards? Also do you use W3C or WhatWG standards? /s

Maybe you should change your profession if the challenges of your current one make you sarcastic.

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