Windows 10 Edge: Standards kinda suck yet better than Chrome?

The best thing for the web since Mozilla forked Netscape


Weary old web warhorse Internet Explorer (known to thousands of Reg readers' spouses and parents up and down the land simply as "the internet") is destined soon for the dustbin of tech history.

After decades of dominance through proprietary lock-in and anti-trust-busted software bundling, the monster lurking in web developer nightmares will no longer be the default browser for Windows.

Windows 10, due in two weeks, will use Microsoft's latest browser creation: Edge.

Fear not IE fans, the browser will still be around for "compatibility" reasons. Which means if you have some kind of ActiveX-reliant spaghetti code nightmare of an intranet site that only works in IE 8 and below, there will still be access it with IE in Windows 10.

For everyone else, though, upgrading to Windows 10 will mean moving to Microsoft Edge and that will hopefully turn out to be a big win, not just for users but the web at large. Well, assuming people actually upgrade to Windows 10.

Edge has been released in limited preview form and based on that, and statements from Microsoft, is seems safe to say that Edge is everything IE is not: fast, more secure and considerably more compliant with the HTML standards that define the web.

Microsoft is clearly looking for a pat on the back with regard to Edge's web standards support, but at this point you don't really get those.

The Edge browser showing the Dark theme

Edge: better than IE on standards, but no Chrome or Firefox

Supporting web standards is a foregone conclusion on today's web. In fact ever since Firefox first started pushing web standards support as a feature, only one browser has failed to get all the way on the standards bandwagon. Can you guess which?

Developers who adhere to web standards can safely ignore Edge. Which is to say that if developers adhere to web standards then their websites will work with any browser that comes along between now and the demise of the internet as we know it, Edge included. That is, after all, the entire point of web standards.

Microsoft has improved IE's standards support over the years, but it still lags behind all its competitors. Edge has a lot of new features for users, like a built-in reader mode, integration with Microsoft's Siri-like digital assistant called Cortana, and some other great user-oriented tools that put Edge way ahead of IE.

From a developer perspective, though, Edge isn't quite as appealing.

It is built on a fork of the Trident rendering engine that powers IE. Microsoft said it's stripped out all that legacy code and, certainly, early benchmarks would seem to indicate it's found a way to speed things up. But when it comes to the standards support developers are accustomed to, Edge reveals its Trident underpinnings.

The html5test.com suite currently lists Edge as supporting 402 of the 555 items in the test. That's respectably better than IE 11 that scores just 336. At the same time it's a long way from Chrome and Firefox, which score 530 and 467 respectively.

Edge's standards support for CSS is a bit more dismal. Comparing Edge to the current shipping versions of Firefox and Chrome reveals some significant gaps in Edge's standards support. Perhaps most notable for a browser that will be the default on Microsoft's mobile operating system is Edge's lack of support for the HTML5 Picture element.


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022