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Patrick Brosset
Patrick Brosset

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Edge isn't IE, and it's not Chrome either!

Do you do web development?

Which browser do you use for it? Let me guess... It's Chrome, isn't it?

Ok, maybe for a few of you it's Firefox, and for an even smaller number Safari. Any Edge users here?

I'd love to change your mind a little bit with this quick article. My main goal here isn't to make you switch to Edge, but to bust a couple of simple myths about it, and maybe make you want to try it out some day.

Edge isn't IE

IE was a pain in the neck, I know, I was there. I've had to write code for customers who needed their sites to work on IE6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

But, IE is gone now. IE11 is going to be the last supported IE version, and it will go out of support in June 2022.

Not only that, but there's a world of difference between IE and Edge. Edge was created as a complete reboot, with a mission to be standards-based from day 1.

There's more. Back in 2018, Microsoft took a big bet and decided to re-start Edge all over again on the open-source Chromium browser engine (read Microsoft Edge's end of 2018 open source intent).

So, if you were holding off on using Edge because it brings back bad memories from the IE days, then give it a try and you'll be surprised.

Edge isn't Chrome either

So, yes, Edge is now based on Chromium. This means it gets all of the features built by the Chromium community (included by Google).

It also contributes a lot of features back to it. In fact, Microsoft is one of the most active contributors to the Chromium project.

But, that doesn't mean that Edge is just a Chrome re-brand. The Edge team at Microsoft is fairly big, and has its own strategy.

Edge comes with its own set of features, both in the UI of the browser, in DevTools, and in the web engine.

The browser itself has features such as collections, vertical tabs, read aloud, shopping price comparison, and more. And DevTools has a few unique tools like 3D view, a webhint-based Issues panel, and a VS Code extension that embeds the browser preview and DevTools inside of VS Code!

So, while Edge and Chrome are both based on the same engine, which gives them great compatibility with sites out there, they're pretty different browsers that have their own specific features.

Using multiple browsers

Making your sites and apps work across browsers and devices is very important. Not doing this means potentially not addressing a big part of your audience.

As web developers, we all have our favorite browser and tools we work with most of the time. But it's important to mix things up and try other browsers on a regular basis. Try Firefox, Safari, or Edge sometimes, get comfortable with their features and developer tools. Your sites can only get better.

Top comments (3)

vprelovac profile image
Vladimir Prelovac • Edited

Which browser do you use for it? Let me guess... It's Chrome, isn't it? Ok, maybe for a few of you it's Firefox, and for an even smaller number Safari.

Both Edge and Firefox are great browsers, but Safari has about 19% browser market share compared to about 3-4% for Edge and Firefox. "Even smaller number for Safari" may not be an accurate characterization of reality even if you take iOS out of picture (but I do not know what web developer does not develop for iOS these days). Safari/WebKit is one of the main forces today that keeps Chrome 'honest' on the web and it doesn't help that Edge chose to use Chromium.

patrickbrosset profile image
Patrick Brosset

I think browser marketshare isn't representative of web developer browser usage though.

vprelovac profile image
Vladimir Prelovac

You are right, developers tend to use Safari and Firefox more than average, at least if Hacker News is any indicator.