MORE DETAILS are starting to emerge about how Microsoft Edge will look after being rebuilt on Google's open source Chromium engine.
In a Reddit FAQ over the weekend, a number of burning questions were answered, notably giving confirmation of what we already knew - standard Chrome extensions will work in the new browser, or at least "it is our intention" say the team, and there's no logistical reason why they wouldn't. Opera, for example, uses its own extensions, but it's still very easy to mod that to accept regular ones, so any barrier that Microsoft was to invent would be artificial.
Also confirmed is that Edge will be a Win32/Win64 app and not a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) job. That means that it's unlikely we'll see any relaxation of the rules to allow Chrome et al into the Microsoft Store.
But what about the UWP apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) written in Edge's EdgeHTML already?
The good news is that they won't have to be rewritten, and in fact, Microsoft will carry on supporting EdgeHTML based PWAs, though a customised version of WebView will also be available for anyone that wants to migrate their apps.
We'd guess that ultimately, there will be forced switch, but it sounds like Microsoft is willing to commit to both rendering engines for the foreseeable.
The team add: "We're not ready to go into all the details yet but PWAs behaving like native apps is still an important principle for us so we'll be looking into the right system integrations to get that right."
Although there has been a cautious welcome for the move, Opera and Firefox potentially have a lot to lose. Opera will more than likely be forced to open their browser to standard Chrome extensions, whilst Firefox, as the last major holdout with its own engine, will face increasing pressure at a time when it is trying to make a comeback, with developers prioritising building for Chromium first and foremost, to maximise bang for their buck. μ
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