It was rumored on Dec. 4 and then confirmed on Dec. 6 that Microsoft is giving up on its EdgeHTML rendering engine and embracing Google’s Chromium for its Edge browser. Now we’re hearing more detail about what to expect in terms of support as part of that transition.
By switching to the Chromium rendering engine, Microsoft is cutting down on the amount of testing developers need to do for their websites and apps, but there’s also an opportunity to embrace features other browsers using Chromium already enjoy. As part of a discussion on Reddit about the Edge engine switch, Edge Project Manager Kyle Alden, confirmed one of those features is Chrome extensions.
It means that if everything goes to plan, the new Edge browser that is set to appear within a year will by default allow Chrome extension installation. However, I must caveat this by stating it is Microsoft’s “intention to support” these extensions, which gives the company space to deliver the support at a later date if they so wish.
The Reddit discussion also points out that progressive web apps (PWA) will be supported and installable through the new browser. A PWA is software that looks and acts like an app, but relies on web browser technology to function. Examples include Google Photos, Contacts, and Maps.
At the same time, existing Universal Windows Platforms (UWP) apps will continue to rely on EdgeHTML/Chakra to function. Microsoft has no intention “to shim under those with a different engine,” but a new WebView will be offered allowing the choice of using Chromium as the rendering engine instead.