Microsoft Moves to Distance Edge From IE's Past
As Windows 10 approaches, the company details how the operating system's new Edge browser works better with modern Web standards.When Windows 10 officially launches on July 29, it will ship with a new default Web browser called Edge. For Web developers who struggled with maintaining compatibility with Internet Explorer, the change spells good news, according to Frank Olivier, principal program manager lead for Microsoft Edge. But first, Microsoft is appealing to developers to exercise caution when detecting a browser's user agent (UA) string. "We recommend that Web developers avoid UA-sniffing as much as possible; modern Web platform features are nearly all detectable in easy ways," wrote Olivier in a lengthy blog post preparing the developer community for the browser's arrival. "Over the past year, we've seen some UA-sniffing sites that have been updated to detect Microsoft Edge … only to provide it with a legacy IE11 [Internet Explorer 11] code path," he continued. It's a tactic that can unravel some of the work Microsoft has done to implement today's Web standards, warned Olivier.
"This is not the best approach, as Microsoft Edge matches 'WebKit' behaviors, not IE11 behaviors (any Edge-WebKit differences are bugs that we're interested in fixing)," he said. WebKit is an open-source layout engine for Web content used by Apple's Safari browser. Google Chrome is based on a fork of the software called Blink. "In our experience, Microsoft Edge runs best on the 'WebKit' code paths in these sites."