When it first began production under the codename “Spartan,” Microsoft’s Edge browser was seemingly singular in its focus to return the company to a place of prominence in the web browser market. For a long time, Microsoft has been pushed out by its competitors, Mozilla and Apple, along with Opera, and more recently, Google with its Chrome browser. These competitors have offered a lighter weight experience with more open ended support for mods and add ons, as well as far more security features built into their baseline software to ensure that online users could have a safer experience.
For a long time, Microsoft couldn’t keep up with the race, and steadily fell behind. The decline was sped up significantly by the company’s failure to properly penetrate the mobile market, which now accounts for as much as 48% of online browsing activity. Lagging behind in desktop browsing is one matter, and at least they still had server support and consideration for security and coding standards from webmasters. With virtually no presence in the mobile market, things seemed grim for Microsoft.
What Do Designers Need to Know About “Edge?”
And then, along comes Edge: Microsoft’s tentative replacement for Internet Explorer. The browser will come with Windows 10 by default when it deploys at the end of July, and although Internet Explorer isn’t completely out of the picture just yet, it’s safe to say that when moving forward, Edge will be considered the new default. Here are a few things that designers will want to know:
- When IE finally retires, so will many of the requirements that have come along with it. This mostly affects the back end of your hosting and security features of a website, but it can also mean that you will want to focus even more on responsive designs. That’s because Edge is also a mobile browsing solution, with easier handling of CSS variance.
- Edge promises stability, which is important for businesses that still rely on the IE standard when creating intranets or web-based applications. While IE may not have a considerable portion of the general browsing public in its pocket anymore, many companies still rely on Microsoft’s solutions for their server and small business functionality. With Edge on the horizon, it could spell out more opportunities for app development.
- Greater security is expected, as mentioned, which is great for designers and users alike. Many of the vulnerabilities and exploits that are spread quickly throughout the internet come from weaknesses that are inherent in Windows’ explorer processes. By switching to Edge, eventually, Microsoft may be able to shore up some of those weaknesses.
Of course, Microsoft has made promises before; Windows 8 was supposed to revolutionize touchscreen Uis, and Zune was going to compete with the Apple iTunes store. The proof will be in the pudding, or in this case, the actual performance of Edge, and the experience that designers will have when building for a new browser’s users.