Last week, Microsoft announced that the company is going to rebuild Edge from the ground up using the Chromium open-source project along with the Blink rendering engine. This is a huge deal, for both users and web developers, as it means there's now one less rendering engine to code for. For users, this should result in websites behaving the same across Edge, Chrome, and Opera, but it also means there are now only two rendering engines in use.
When we reported on this news last week, the internet was divided. Many people were somewhat optimistic about this idea:
I honestly want a really good browser by Microsoft. I love Safari on the Mac and it would be great to have the same baked in compatibility on the Windows side of things. Bring it on Microsoft let's see what you got!— Alex Clark (@alexclark4121) December 4, 2018
Cautiously optimistic about this one!— Karl Hepworth (@fubarhouse) December 4, 2018
Even web developers were happy to hear about the switch to Chromium and Blink for Edge:
Wow, this would be awesome. Makes my work as Webdeveloper much more easier. Do this @Microsoft !!!— Tobias Schiek (@comintsots) December 4, 2018
I don't know if it's good or bad, but there's one less browser compatibility to worry about, which is good. https://t.co/zT7Z6wvtiJ— Swashata Ghosh (@swashata) December 5, 2018
Oh my 😱. Never thought I'd live to see this day, but IE you won't be missed, having lost many years of my life to debugging your quirks… https://t.co/fgbFAumxle— ozarius (@ozarius) December 4, 2018
Not everyone was pleased, however. Many online think this is a terrible idea:
UGH, NO. Monocultures are bad, and Google is a poor steward for the web! EdgeHTML is good, Chakra is amazing and both of these projects offer a good third party to the standards track!— berwyn 🍁🇨🇦 (@_berwyn_) December 4, 2018
This is *not* good news. A webkit monoculture is not any better than a Internet Explorer monoculture, and I don't really want to go back to one. Use Firefox y'all. https://t.co/9KI1ikuH7h— axel πmon [@firstname.lastname@example.org] (@axelsimon) December 4, 2018
This is actually bad news. One engine less on the market means even less competition and more websites tied to a specific renderer. Reminds me of IE5.— S. M. (@Steve_Kong) December 4, 2018
Some were already satisfied with Edge:
Well, I thought Edge was doing a great job. Never mind 😕 https://t.co/Vih6Wr1PIv— Doug (@digitalfx_) December 4, 2018
Disappointing. Edge is just awesome and very lightweight. Chromium-based browsing just hits too many issues, from my experiences.— Terence Waters (@AplUSAndmINUS) December 4, 2018
Why?. Edge is waay more stable than chrome. Chrome is a bloated piece of software— ✖chris young✖ (@KushCrusAd3r) December 4, 2018
Others believe the move was inevitable:
Interesting. I've tried to like Edge, but Chrome is so dominant. And much faster. Edge continually shows as the slowest browser in my web analytics too, as regards page load time.— Ryan Holota (@ryanholota) December 4, 2018
There's also the idea that a "browser made by Microsoft" is the problem and that switching to Chromium won't change anything:
I've been a chrome fan boy for 10 years. I just don't think MS can win back the lost trust. IE was just years of headache but Edge needs marketing not new tech IMO https://t.co/la4D6tX5CB— Amy-Kate (@amy_kate) December 5, 2018
Why bother? Just use Chrome? 🤔 https://t.co/7ScF2xFHzM— deanpcmad (@deanpcmad) December 6, 2018
There's much to unwrap regarding the switch to Chromium and Blink for Microsoft Edge. Many don't understand why Microsoft is doing it, citing the fact that they think Edge is good enough today, and others are happy to see Microsoft attempting to build a better product for users. Web developers appear to be somewhat divided, with some thinking this is great, as they no longer have to code for Edge in addition to Chrome, but other web developers think this is terrible, as less rendering engines will likely result in less innovation and more control to a single entity.
Whichever camp you fall into, the fact of the matter is Microsoft is doing this so that it no longer has to pour resources into a web browser that so few people use. Building on top of Chromium will allow Microsoft to use a base that is already mature, and customize it to their liking by adding Microsoft-specific features and functions. There's no guaranteeing that this will make people want to use Edge, but it will improve web performance, as most websites today are built with Chromium and Blink in mind anyway.
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