|Windows 10 Microsoft Edge|
What is less well known is that Internet Explorer 11 is also a crucial part of the Operating System as well.
This begs the question – why does Windows 10 have 2 browsers in the first place.
When I would talk about this in class and ask it as a million dollar question, the answer back from students would be “cos Internet Explorer sucks!”. For the record, that’s the wrong answer.
A better answer would be because Internet Explorer is 20 years old.
That’s right, the browser we’ve all grown to love was born in 1995 and has seen the web evolve in many crazy ways over the past 20 years.
The rise of Safari and Chrome (among others) definitely lit a fire under Microsoft’s butt. IE just wan’t fresh and since IE 6, the love was pretty much gone from the development community for this browser.
Windows 10 was the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to start fresh and attempt to wipe the slate clean without all the baggage of the past.
Microsoft were going to be adding all the cool stuff (annotation on the web, sharing, offline reading etc) to a browser and from a development perspective, it would have been difficult to add all of that to a legacy browser.
In addition, there were a lot of other OS integrations Microsoft were going to be making with the browser (Integration with Bing, Cortana and the OS itself) that a fresh start just made the most sense.
To put it in context, the Microsoft development team have made almost 4500 interoperability improvements in Edge. That’s a lot of work!
Edge is an integral part of Windows 10
The browser is built on the Universal Windows Platform and will be updated frequently via Windows Updates just like the rest of the OS. Like IE before it, it’s manageable through Group Policy and MDM (Mobile Device Management).
It’s also free from a lot of IE legacy requirements like Active X.
|Side by side IE and Edge|
Here’s what’s cool about Edge, if it tries to open a URL and based on the content believes that IE will be a better fit, Edge will open up Internet Explorer 11 and send the URL there instead.
So why not just get rid of IE entirely?
This was one of the options Microsoft considered and I’m really glad they didn’t do it.
You see as much as Internet Explorer may be detested, it’s in use in so many computers and legacy systems around the world, it would probably been a major blow to Windows 10 adoption.
For a lot of reasons, companies (mostly companies at this point) just won’t let IE go.
There are a lot of mission critical software applications that run only on Internet Explorer and even though it seems like companies should have moved to the modern web by now, they simply haven’t.
Microsoft is a productivity company and that means that breaking stuff was not an option so the development team had the idea to split browsing responsibilities between the two browsers:
- Modern browsing – Microsoft Edge
- Legacy browsing – Internet Explorer 11