Must know tech facts about Microsoft Edge

If you have just started with Microsoft Edge, this article will give you a heads-up. Pracheta Budhwar summarizes key changes & tech facts that one must know about Microsoft Edge. She tweets regularly at @prachetab

By Promotion Published Date
18 - Sep - 2015
| Last Updated
06 - Oct - 2015
Must know tech facts about Microsoft Edge

The reason you are reading this tells me that you are techie or tech enthusiast. I’m going to keep this write-up simple yet sufficiently technical.
I am starting with an assumption that you know all the consumer features like- Microsoft  Edge is super-fast, extra light, has reading list, you can draw on web page and has Cortana support (yes!) etc. 

In this article, I want to highlight the few essentials that every web developer, designer or an IT person should know about Microsoft Edge. – 

1. A new “living” engine - EdgeHTML

To begin with, Microsoft Edge is a browser that has been built from scratch hence it doesn’t have to carry all legacy problems and bulkiness of Internet Explorer. It’s kind of sandboxed or compartmentalized from the OS and uses a new layout engine altogether, it’s called – EdgeHTML. So this means, the old MSHTML (Trident) engine, which tried to balance both backwards compatibility and modern web interoperability, into a new ‘interoperability-first’ engine, Microsoft EdgeHTML.

The old MSHTML or Trident engine tried to balance backward compatibility and modern web, whereas the new engine – EdgeHTML is an interoperability-first engine. 

Among many benefits of EdgeHTML rendering engine, one that tops the chart is that ’It will be always up to date with modern web standards providing a great opportunity for web developers to build and maintain one consistent site that supports all modern browsers, thereby simplifying the task of building first class web sites and allowing more time and energy for web developers to focus on reliability and security rather than the complexities of interoperability.’

2.  “New” Stack

For trivia, there are over 45 new standards baked into the browser — more than we’ve ever done in one release. 
Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 contains new Document Object Model (DOM) features and updates, including support for W3C WAI-ARIA 1.0, the Gamepad API, native browser support for XPath, and updates to synthetic events.

For improved compatibility, the modern browser supports a variety of "-webkit-" prefixed APIs.
Microsoft Edge also enables improved graphics functionality for 3D scenes through preserve-3d support
At the heart of Microsoft Edge, it aligns with Web components, abides by HTML5 manifestation & encourage compartmentalization

The goal of web components is to reduce complexity by isolating a related group of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to perform a common function within the context of a single page.

Four of our five most-requested platform features on UserVoice (Shadow DOM, Template, Custom Elements, HTML Imports) belong to the family of features called Web Components.

3. Web Security at the center     of everything

With Microsoft Edge, the intent is to fundamentally improve security over existing browsers and enable users to confidently experience the web from Windows. It’s designed to defend users from increasingly  sophisticated and prevalent attacks. Here are few of the many new technological innovation & improvements that have been done to make Edge the safest browser on the planet.

Ever wondered that a web browser can help defend a user against trickery by identifying and blocking known tricks? or by using strong security protocols to ensure that you are talking to the web site you think you are talking to ? Here are some of the ways that Microsoft Edge helps achieve this.

Web Standards

Microsoft EdgeHTML helps in defending against “con man” attacks using new security features in the W3C and IETF standards:

  • Support for the W3C standard for Content     Security Policy 1.0 helping developers everywhere     defend their sites from XSS     (Cross-Site Scripting)attacks in a cross-browser manner.
  • Support for HTTP     Strict Transport Security helping ensure that     connections to important sites, like your Bank, are always secured.
  • W3C Web Cryptography API     has been updated to include support the non-prefixed, JavaScript     Promise-based     version of the API

Stronger, More Convenient Credentials

To really defend against phishing (enticing the user into entering their password into a fake version of a web site that they trust) requires removing the need for users to enter plain-text passwords into web sites. Instead, Windows 10 provides Microsoft Passport technology with asymmetric cryptography to authenticate you to your web sites. Windows 10 will also offer the most convenient way to unlock your device and access your Microsoft Passport, providing a truly seamless experience that is more secure than today’s world of complicated passwords.
In addition -

1.Microsoft SmartScreen (defends users     against socially-engineered downloads of malicious software to     users being tricked into installing malicious software)     

2. Bing Webmaster tools (Certificate     Reputation – recently we have extended 
this system by allowing web     developers to use it & report directly to alert Microsoft     to fraudulent certificates) are great assets & tools to nip many     issues in the bud.

Microsoft Edge is an App

The largest change in Microsoft Edge security is that the new browser is a Universal Windows app. This fundamentally changes the process model, so that both the outer manager process, and the assorted content processes, all live within app container sandboxes. Also it hugely changes the way & ease with which web hosted apps could be treated now. Imagine, you can call any native W10 API using JS from your website!

64-bit By Default

Edge is also 64-bit, not just by default, but at all times when running on a 64-bit processor. 64-bit processes in general, and browser processes in particular, get significant security advantages by making Windows ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) stronger.

4. F12 developer tools

F12 developer tools documentation is now part of the Microsoft Edge Dev site and fully available on GitHub. From this point on, the docs will not only be influenced by your feedback, but you’re invited to contribute and help shape our documentation going forward.

5. Networking          

Microsoft Edge introduces improved networking performance with new and updated features like HTTP/2 support, meta referrer support, top-level domain (TLD) support, and updates to XMLHTTPRequest (XHR) caching.

TCP Connection Sharing (also known as SPDY/3) has been removed in favor of HTTP/2, the successor to SPDY. This will be transparent for most users but will be noticeable in the F12 Developer Tools where connection headers are exposed and the protocol is displayed.
Edge now honors a meta referrer to specify what information about a webpage should be passed in the HTTP referer.

6. If     extensions matter a lot to you, then for now

To enable extensibility beyond what is provided by HTML5, work is going on to make available a modern, HTML/JS-based extension model. A detailed guidance on migrating your scenarios from ActiveX controls to modern standards and extensions is expected in the coming months.
If below extensions fall under the category of “you cannot live without today” then IE11 is your friend for now:

  • ActiveX     controls    
  • x-ua-compatible     headers    
  • <meta>     tags    
  • Enterprise     mode or compatibility view to address compatibility issues
  • legacy     document modes

You can check your website’s compatibility with Microsoft Edge and implement the suggested fixes, if any. You can also write to us at
See you on the other side with EdgeHTML 

Click here to check if your website adheres to interoperable web standards and is ready for various modern browsers, including Microsoft Edge