Microsoft Edge and Kentico

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Among all of the announcements at Build2105, one of the most exciting has been the unveiling of Microsoft’s Edge browser (AKA Project Spartan). A lean, minimalistic approach to web browsing, this browser is aimed at speeding up your experience and delivering content in new and exciting formats.  I was curious how a Kentico 8.2 site would look in Edge and wanted to let you know what I found.

Now, much of what’s in this blog is based on preview versions of both Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge. Things will certainly change before the final builds are out, which could affect the compatibility of sites with the new browser. I have not seen any reports of them depreciating any functionality so that worry should be minimal. I’m sure some things will get a lot better, but here are my findings so far.

The Setup

The first step was to get Microsoft Edge (it does feel strange typing that). In order to do that I needed to install the Windows 10 Preview. I signed up for the Windows Preview Program and set up a virtual machine with the new OS and browser installed. Only the latest versions have the new browser so be sure to get the most recent image.

Windows 10

First Look

From first glance, things look pretty similar to previous browsers (which is a good thing in my opinion). Edge has a new rendering engine (called EdgeHTML) behind the scenes, along with some new tools for developers. At its core, it appears to render things very similar to IE11.  Ensuring that sites will still look good is a great help for developers who know they won’t have to rewrite a ton of code.

Edge & IE 11

Tools / Speed

Once I determined that the overall look and feel was largely unchanged, I was curious about the speed of the new browser. Edge comes with the familiar Developer Tools in IE11, which had very similar results to IE11 for the same site. It is worth noting that the new tools are written in TypeScript and have some additional features for developers like improved navigation, DOM explorer integration, and the ability to use shortcuts that are common in Chrome/Firefox.

Edge Developer Tools

Edge Dev Tools

From all of the reports I’ve seen, Edge is touted as being much faster and cleaner than IE11. It is always worth noting that my Win 10 environment is running in a virtual instance on my development machine. This means a lot less RAM than my IE11 installation, and that certainly could affect the performance.

IE 11 Developer Tools

IE 11 Dev Tools

After looking at the base stats, I wanted to dive a little deeper. I was then curious how good the HTML5 support is in Edge.

Edge HTML5 Test Results

Edge HTML 5 Test Results

Compare that with IE11 and you will see some improvements.

IE 11 HTML5 Test Results

IE 11 HTML 5 Test Results

This tells me that Edge is even more compatible with HTML5 than IE11. Now, it still is significantly behind Chrome (523) and Firefox (449) on that scale, however, any site built using good HTML5 design should be as good if not better in Edge than in IE11.

Marking It Up!

Not specific to Kentico, the Markup feature of Edge is a pretty cool addition. Used in conjunction with the preview feature of Kentico, this could allow designers to collaborate with marketers easily by having them go to the newly designed page and add input, right from the browser. A designer could make the new page, give the marketer the preview link, and the marketer could then write up their changes in a shareable format.

Unpublished Page

Unpublished Page

Now the designer could send the preview link to whoever needs to approve the changes.

Preview with Markup

Preview page with markup

After marking it, it can be shared right from the browser to speed up the process even more!

Share Markup

Share markup

Conclusion

As you can see, Microsoft Edge doesn’t appear to be a huge shift from a Kentico development standpoint. If anything, it will be a faster, more streamlined experience for the user which should speed up your sites and deliver some great content. Add in the markup and sharing capabilities and your projects may get a lot of benefits in the collaboration space by letting people work together easier. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Windows 10 and the Edge browser to see if they introduce any new compilers that affect Kentico sites.

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Bryan Soltis

Hello. I am a Technical Evangelist here at Kentico and will be helping the technical community by providing guidance and best practices for all areas of the product. I might also do some karaoke. We'll see how it the night goes...

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