Microsoft may be distancing its new Edge browser from Internet Explorer (IE) and its contentious past, but it is inheriting at least some developer features.
In addition to an improved set of F12 tools, the company announced that Edge supports WebDriver, an emerging automated site-testing standard from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Windows Insiders, members of Microsoft's beta program, can test the functionality in build 10240 or newer. The company first added WebDriver support to IE 11 a year ago.
The use of WebDriver with Edge requires running Microsoft WebDriver server software with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 (build 10240 and above). Microsoft halted downloads of the server after a "publishing issue" cropped up, but the company hopes to restore the software later today (July 24).
WebDriver helps developers test complex sites, allowing them to find and ultimately fix issues much faster than using manual methods. "It provides a programmable remote control for developing complex user scenarios and running them in an automated fashion against your Website in a browser," Microsoft Edge staffers Clay Martin, program manager; John Jansen, principal software engineer; Jatinder Mann, senior program manager lead; and Mark Conway, director of automation testing tool specialist Micro Focus, wrote in a joint blog post.
The tech helps developers maintain the quality of major Websites, including Microsoft's own search engine. "WebDriver is used by top Web properties like Bing, Azure, SharePoint, Facebook, Google and others to automate testing their sites within a browser," they noted.
A key aim of the Edge project is to help align Windows 10 with the modern Web. To that end, Microsoft has worked to embrace more modern, developer-friendly Web standards. The company has even shed some hallmark IE technologies like ActiveX to further the cause.
Microsoft is also courting developers by streamlining their cross-browser testing workflows. "With this new capability, Microsoft Edge can be run through the same regression testing as other browsers, helping developers identify issues with less effort and making sites just work for our end users," stated the group.
To enable WebDriver support, Microsoft teamed with Micro Focus and its Borland subsidiary "to help contribute code to the WebDriver implementation in Microsoft Edge," they revealed.
"The Borland team is also bringing their expertise in automation testing to help inform the next level of changes we should pursue in the W3C standard." U.K.-based Micro Focus acquired Borland, known as a leader in the application lifecycle management and deployment solutions market, in 2009 for $75 million.
Typical of packages that allow users to dig into code, developers will need to perform some setup. "To get started using WebDriver, you will need to download a testing framework of your choice along with an appropriate language binding and the Microsoft WebDriver server," stated the group. Supported language bindings include C# and Java Selenium, with the goal of adding more to come in the future.