Release of Edge Speeds Cuts in IE Support

Microsoft Edge browser screenThe release of Microsoft Edge next month comes with an accelerated cut in support for various Internet Explorer releases, with some of those coming years earlier than anticipated.

Microsoft will stop supporting Internet Explorer 8 in January 2016, but as anyone who has followed announcements about IE should know by now, that doesn’t mean having anything but IE11 installed will be supported.

  • Users with IE8, IE9 or IE10 on Windows 7 SP1 need to migrate to IE11 for security updates and technical support.
  • IE9 only gets support on Windows Vista; IE 10 on Windows Server 2012; and IE11 on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

But with the massive push accompanying the release of Windows 10 at the end of July, can anyone afford not to update to Edge? Aren’t you already doing that with IE, Chrome, Firefox or one of those other “modern” browsers?

Independent software vendors and solutions providers who work in the web-based environment need to pay close attention to this. If their clients have to upgrade their systems to Windows 7 or 8 – or even 10 – for a more modern browser, they’ll need to know that their applications still work for their clients.

IE11 will be included with Windows 10 to support legacy web apps, which will be critical as no plans exist to bring Edge to Windows 7 – which accounts for 63% of all copies of Windows online in May.

ISVs that take the lead on the need to update browsers and the OS might have a big task ahead of them. They may need to educate their clients on the need to make these updates. If their own application requires an update that those same customers then will need, now the ISV has a tough sales job ahead.

Avel Avram shared a developer’s view of Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, on InfoQ. The browser won’t support plug-ins other than a built-in PDF reader and Flash. That means no Silverlight, no Java, no ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects, VML, VBScript, IE8 layout, DirectX Filters and no Transitions.

If a website or web application requires these, it could mean that it will “break” in the Edge browser.

The Edge browser shouldn’t be considered complete when it first gets released on July 29. Microsoft already announced an early version of a modern, HTML/JavaScript-based extension model to provide extensibility beyond what is available with HTML5, in effect a replacement for how Active X and Browser Helper Objects were used. Look for this addition sometime after the summer release of Edge.

For those few developers still using Direct X and transitions to apply various visual effects to elements on the web page, it’s time to shift to the standards based features of CSS3 and SVG.

There was a time when it appeared that Microsoft purposely ignored standards adopted by industry associations. With Edge and Windows 10, Microsoft seems to be adopting many standards.

But if Microsoft is losing browser share even in the enterprise market, will any of this ultimately matter? Gartner estimated that by the end of the year, Google will be the No. 1 primary browser in corporations, edging IE. Next year, Chrome’s enterprise usage will surge from 43% to 65%, accompanied by an IE plummet from 47% to 28%.