Microsoft Edge is fighting a lone fight, what with its exclusive availability on a single platform, Windows 10, and only two major updates every year, with the operating system.
But at least, the refreshes seem to be worth the wait.
Each major one brings notable improvements, particularly to the speed and underlying technologies, if not the feature set. Improvements, that Microsoft hopes, will help the web browser catch up to industry giants like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
And the one that is set to arrive with the Fall Creators Update, EdgeHTML 16, is an interesting little set that will not only bring new experiences to Windows 10 users, but also shorten the feature gap.
As the software titan detailed at the above link, there are a few neat bells and whistles due for the default web browser in Windows 10.
Prime among them is the unprefixed implementation of the CSS Grid Layout that enables more layout fluidity than was previously possible, with positioning using floats or scripts. This new version of EdgeHTML also introduces support for CSS properties object-fit and object-position.
These control the position and size of replaced content within the content box.
Developers also have access to a handful of new tools, like refactored efforts to improve extensibility, ancestor event listeners, DOM mutation breakpoints, CSS at rule support, and more.
On the consumer facing side, a new Payment Request API is now open to all, as are what Microsoft calls Service Workers, which are event-driven scripts that run in the background of a web page. These enable functionality that was previously only available with native apps.
And last, but surely not the least, Microsoft’s push into virtual reality has made its presence felt in the browser, with WebVR being optimized to support two different types of experiences — Windows Mixed Reality PCs and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs.
These are basically computers with or without dedicated graphics cards.
The last few Insider preview builds have launched with these new features and additions sprinkled, and the software titan is now preparing for a fuller release alongside the Fall Creators Update.