Guests Chris heilmann and Zohair Ali are developers for Microsoft working on the Edge project. Today they are talking about Edge on Chromium and the future of developer tools. Edge will now be built in Chromium rather than being its own engine, aligning it more with what is being used on the open web right now. The Edge team wanted to seize the opportunity to bring something into the Chromium project based on the needs of real users and contribute to the open source web. Edge on Chromium won’t be limited to Windows 10 either, but will be available on Mac, Windows 7, and Windows 8. This project is still in beta with no set release date, so the Edge team is looking for people to test it out on Mac and tell them how it works.
Chris and Zohair talk about the different parts of a web browser and what distinguishes Chrome from Chromium. Chromium is not just a platform, it’s an entire browser that you can install. Google adds a bunch of Google services to Chromium, such as being able to sign into your Google account, and that’s how you get Google Chrome. Similarly, the new Edge adds its own features on top of Chromium, so you can sign into your Microsoft account. By now the browser engines are so similar to each other that the users are looking for the user experience, interface, and services around it, so it made more sense for the Edge team to contribute to Chromium than to maintain their own engine and help it improve.
Chris and Zohair talk about some of the features in Edge on Chromium. One service they’re particularly excited about is the Collections feature, where you can drag images, text, etc into Collections and export it to Excel or Word. Collections was inspired by what users need, and they talk about some of the different use cases for it. The new Edge on Chromium will also have an IE mode for products that still require IE 11. If you define what services need IE 11, Edge will open an IE 11 tab within the browser so you will not have to jump between browsers. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on Windows. Edge on Chromium will also offer an integration with VS Code, called Elements for VS Code, which takes part of the developer tools from Edge and puts it inside VS Code. Since the tools are based on Chromium, it stays in the same context all the time so you don’t have to jump back and forth, and you can see the changes live in your browser. This feature is in beta right now and they are looking for people to test it.
The Edge team talks about their process for creating tools. They are working on putting their tools into other languages so that they are accessible to more people. They talk about how they want to avoid creating Edge specific tools as much as possible because they want to make it better for everybody. One of their biggest struggles is everybody demands developer tools, but nobody wants to contribute, so they don’t have as much feedback and not as much outside contribution. That’s why they keep calling for people to try out the new Edge on Chromium and give them feedback. They want to make that change more transparent so that they build things that people want. They will have to make some of their own tools, but they make sure that they don’t have any third party dependencies. They mention that all Chrome extensions are compatible with Edge, so if it’s available in the Chrome webstore, you can add it to Edge, you just have to be sure to allow it. They talk about some of the testing tools available. The show concludes with a discussion of the fate of Chakra Node.
With special guests: Chris Heilmann and Zohair Ali