Sep 30, 2015

Microsoft Edge

Oh, the things I learn! I have been working in IT with Microsoft technologies for 16 years, but they never seize to amaze me with their new awesome innovations. Take Microsoft Edge, for example.

A couple weeks ago I had my laptop's old 160GB SSD disc changed into a nice new 500GB SSD. Since anew Windows install was needed anyway, I had our intern install Windows 10 on my laptop. I quite like it. I quite like the Start menu as this combo of Win8.1 and Win7. And I like it that there is no special "tablet" side for apps, but they just open as windows on the desktop. I like it. But this is not a blog post about Windows 10; there's enough of those around the Interwebs.

No, this is a post about Microsoft Edge. 

Edge is supposed to be a grand new browser that doesn't have the issues of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is lacking at best. At best it is in version 11. In truth, each version has been better than the previous one, but still I have been silently (or not so) hooraying every time another one bites the dust. My worst issues with IE have naturally been with CSS and JavaScript, since I do web design. Other than that, I don't know since I don't really use it. But for a web designer, IE has mostly been a nighmare.

Ok, back to Edge. I really haven't actually had the need to test UI's in Edge too much yet. Not really at all. These past two weeks I've been doing other stuff and/or using customer environments for debugging this or that (JavaScript issues). Which means that I really haven't used Edge much for anything yet. I only now pressed F12 in it for the first time, just to see what the dev tools look like. They look the same as in IE11, except I could not find a button to attach the tools to the bottom of the browser window. What's up with that?

To that same category of "what's up with that?" goes the other thing I learned today about Edge. That would be the lack of page history in the back button! I mean, I can't be the only one in this world using the back button history menu for jumping back some and sometimes forward some likewise. But, it does not exist anymore! I googled it even! I found a couple discussion threads about it, e.g. this one in tenforums, Ok, so there ARE people as astonished by this as I am!

In those discussions others were saying that it's still there, you just access it from a different place, the lines-button and there you find history. But like someone pointed out, this is not the same damned thing! Browsing history is not the same as the back button page history! Someone else said (maybe sarcastically?) that Edge is so new, it might not have all of the features yet. C'moon Microsoft! There's absolutely no excuse!

Another thing I realised about Edge, not so long ago, is the lack of ActiveX and other legacy technology support. I would not really be sorry about that - maybe I'm not in any case - but I'm certainly surprised. Why? Because Microsoft's own core software like SharePoint still used ActiveX components for certain important functionalities. So basically Edge is no more compatible with SharePoint than, say, Chrome or Firefox. Which essentially does not mean much, since most stuff can be done in any browser.

However, Edge does have an inbuilt command in the settings menu for opening the current web site in Internet Explorer. So, wait, what? Edge has an inbuilt IE launcher? Yep. In a way, that's pretty cool, since you really can't know when you run into a wall with Edge. 

Interesting to see. Internet Explorer has not been capable of competing with browsers such as Chrome and Firefox even though its different versions are used a whole lot. This is however solely due to company policies forbidding anything else from the bulk laptops. Edge? I'm really not sure it will turn Microsoft's ship in the web browser market. It's not bad (probably). It's just not very enticing either.

Oh, and the other thing. I haven't found a way to dock the favorites bar to the top part of the window, below the address bar like I like it. Maybe I'm just too used to my old ways. Maybe I should think fresh. But I'll still stick with Chrome (and Firefox when Firebugging is required).

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