Microsoft working to unify Edge codebase on all platforms, mobile betas coming soon

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Microsoft has been adding a bunch of useful features to its Chromium-based Edge browser, with the latest round of updates bumping the offering to version 89 on the desktop, bringing performance improvements to browser launches, sleeping tabs for better resource management, and the general availability of vertical tabs. The company recently added Collections and tabs and history sync to the mobile versions. However, the Android version of the app is still based on version 77, with an update to the underlying version long overdue.

That might be changing soon, as the company showed a slide during an Ignite session video (highlighted by Reddit user SumitDh on a Reddit thread) titled “Microsoft Edge | Mobile Productivity in the Enterprise” that noted that the company will be moving to a common codebase for the desktop, Android, and iOS versions later this year. However, due to Apple's App Store guidelines, the underlying rendering engine on iOS will continue to be WebKit, just like Chrome on iOS.

The reason for the change that the company notes is that currently, the development of any new features needs to be done “three times” since they must be built for Android, iOS, and the desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) separately, owing to the different codebases. This also causes challenges with rolling out features to all platforms simultaneously. With the unification of the codebases, the mobile versions will also gain feature parity with competing browsers such as Chrome.

The Redmond firm also adds that the migration to a common codebase helps developers and enterprises since existing policies can easily be migrated to apply to mobile devices as well for the latter. This is in addition to the improved “engineering efficiency” for the team to bring features from the desktop to mobile, where applicable. The change will also result in much-needed performance improvements on Android, making the offering a viable alternative to Google’s offering and other Chromium-based browsers on the platform.

The company says that the effort to unify the codebase has been in the works for the past year and that it will be releasing a public beta for Android and iOS customers “in the coming months”. It will be interesting to see what features make it to the mobile versions from the desktop in the future.
 

SeriousHoax

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That is great news for people like me that use Edge on multiple platforms(I use it on desktop and Android).
Yes, excellent news for Android users. Currently, on Android it's outdated, slower than Chrome, makes my device hotter so ends up consuming more battery. All should be improved after this and hopefully a better way (similar to Chrome & Firefox) to send links from desktop to android without using their Your Phone app which I highly dislike.
 

silversurfer

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Now that the legacy version of Microsoft's Edge browser has run out of support, Microsoft is doubling-down on its new Chromium-based Edge browser. During the Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft revealed plans to align the codebase of the Edge browser on all supported platforms.

Currently, Microsoft Edge on the desktop differs from the mobile versions of Edge for iOS and Android, and even the mobile apps differ because the iOS version is using WebKit as its codebase while the Android version Chromium.

The current situation is problematic from a development point of view, as features need to be developed independently currently. A feature introduced on the desktop, e.g. Collections, needed to be recreated for mobile versions of Edge; this causes development overhead and results in different versions of Edge offering different features to users of the browser.

Going forward, Microsoft Edge will be based on a single codebase that is Chromium. All browsers, desktop and mobile, share that codebase. Microsoft plans to migrate all features of the current versions of Edge for Android and iOS to that new codebase, so that Enterprise customers may continue to use policies and existing features that are present in the current Edge versions for mobile devices.
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Lenny_Fox

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To me it seems that the Microsoft Edge which is in between Chromium and the platform specific versions only functions as a middleware layer with only the replacement of Google services by Microsoft services and all the connectors and plugs (API's) for the platform specific versions. This would make it a lot easier to follow Chromium updates and patches and give Microsoft the choice to make changes in the open source Chromium version, their Microsoft Edge and in the platform specific versions depending on the software architecture.

Forgive me my laziness, don't have the time in my coffee break to read the full article. Does anyone (who has read the article) know whether the platform specific adaptions will be open source to? Same question for the Microsoft Edge middleware layer?

Thanks

/L
 
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