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George Mandis
George Mandis

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Edge Canary Supports Shape Detection API

The macOS version of Microsoft Edge Insider was released today at Currently only the Canary Channel is available, which is updated daily. The more stable Beta and Dev channels will likely become available in the coming weeks as we run the gauntlet between Microsoft Build, Google I/O, WWDC and probably some other developer-centric events I'm forgetting about that happen this time of year.

The new version of Edge is built on Chromium, which is kind of a bittersweet victory for the web depending on how you look at it. On the bitter side, choice and differentation is one of the things that makes the open web great. No one company owns the web, nor should it. For all the things it does well, adopting Google's project to power their browser feels like Microsoft ceding a little too much control to Google's grip on the web, even if I think they've generally been decent stewards.

On the sweeter side, troubleshooting and debugging a Chromium-based browser is going to be much nicer than dealing with Edge! While I was at Microsoft Build the other week I asked a question about whether or not the new Edge would support the Shape Detection API. It's currently available in Chromium hidden beneath the experimental web features flag found at chrome://flags.

I asked about this while I was speaking at Microsoft Build the other week:

Does anyone know if the new MS Edge based on Chromium has an equivalent of the "Experiments" page (chrome://flags) to enable experimental web platform features?

You can enable the Shape Detection API on Chromium, which sort of surprised me. Wondering if Edge inherited this...

— George Mandis (@georgeMandis) May 3, 2019

Long-story short—looks like you can! Just go to edge://flags and you'll find an identical screen.

To answer my own question: YES! In Edge Canary on macOS you can find the flags at: edge://flags/

I also tested the Shape Detection API, and it works!!!

Long-term, I'm excited to think this means wide-support for a very cool feature:

— George Mandis (@georgeMandis) May 21, 2019

Once you've enabled this you should be able to view this demo at my slightly neglected project Debugging Art :

Though my feelings are still mixed on the state of browser homogeneity, I do think it's cool that features like this might become wide-spread more quickly.

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