How can we improve the Microsoft Edge developer experience?

Use Blink (or other open rendering engine) and start contributing code.

There's clearly a duplication of effort going on. Web standards have this name because they're *standards*, so any implementation will have to recreate the same features.

Instead of reinventing the wheel (and doing a very bad job, by the way), contribute code to one of the collective efforts to implement those standards. Pick one of the established rendering engines and rebuild IE around it. All web developers and the public in general will stop making fun of you. Hey, maybe we'll even use IE for something other than downloading a better browser.

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Fabio Neves shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

The web is built on the principle of multiple independent, interoperable implementations of web standards, and we feel it is important to counter movement towards a monoculture on the web. We’ve heard the feedback that MSHTML isn’t a modern engine capable of running today’s modern web. To balance this with the importance of avoiding engine monoculture, we created our new engine designed to be significantly more interoperable with Blink and WebKit. We believe that building on that foundation gives us the best opportunity to build a world-class browsing experience for Windows for our users and a competitive and interoperable platform for web developers.

We also understand and value the importance about being more open with our engine. To that point, we’ve launched for communicating our roadmap, we’re giving more access to our engineers through social media, and we’re collaborating with the major rendering engine contributors, like Adobe, through a shared source program. We’ll continue to make additional effort to be even more transparent with the engineering of our new rendering engine.


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  • Jon Rimmer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Apple and Google found it very difficult to work together on WebKit, which is why Google forked WebKit to make Blink in the first place. Microsoft would face the same problem trying to use any of the open source rendering engines.

    While WebKit, Blink and Gecko are open source, they are not community-run projects. Each is controlled by a single large organisation (Apple, Google and Mozilla, respectively) and while others are welcome to contribute, the overall direction of the project is set by that organisation. This can cause trouble: Adobe spent a long time working on CSS Regions, developing code for WebKit and then for Blink. Then one day, Google decided that, for performance reasons, they wouldn't accept the feature in Blink, and removed the code.

    Adobe had invested a lot of time and money into their Regions effort, but because they didn't control the project, they had no recourse and had to accept Google's decision. Opera are now in the same situation - if they want to add features to Chromium, they either have to convince Google, or maintain a fork. There's no way Microsoft could accept this kind of situation for their own browser. IE is a core part of Windows, and they need to control it, not be at the whim of one of their competitors.

    Microsoft could open source IE, and possibly should, but it wouldn't be a silver bullet for a bug-free or feature-complete browser. Although other companies like Adobe, Intel and Samsung contribute to the existing open source engines, the vast, vast majority of work is still done by the company running each project.

  • Ken commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'd prefer they not use webkit or blink unless chromium reverses their stubborn decision not to support the superior pointer events spec (which IE already supports).

  • Fabio Neves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To everybody commenting against this feature: I'm clearly suggesting "Blink (or other open rendering engine)".

    I would be happy if Microsoft open-sourced their current rendering engine too. It would probably be THE major step Microsoft ever made in the right direction. They don't make any money off IE - it's a free product, and an underwhelming one at that. It doesn't make any sense to keep it closed.

    I'm all for competition as a way to create better implementations, but it's pretty much established at this point that closed source development for general use software (like browsers) will keep any possible benefit under wraps.

    That's why Webkit, Blink and Gecko are light-years ahead of IE these days; they're constantly competing against each other *in the open*, implementing features in a way faster pace than Microsoft ever could.

  • Ed Lomonaco commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    you're always going to see those. But they should in all seriousness stop using their own engine is just contribute to an existing one.

  • Alexander Prokhorov (Athari) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    No way! WebKit is already WAY TOO popular. It must be stopped before it becomes another IE6.

    IE competing with others (not dominating others) is a GOOD thing.

    How many troll suggestions are there? I'm getting tired of seeing them.

  • fvsch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This comes back with every IE dev cycle since IE7. Still disagree with it. It's a good thing to have several engines implementing standards (at least 2, ideally 3); especially since Opera stopped making its own.

    Standards that are only implemented by one vendor *or by one project* are generally buggy and not quite "standards".

    IE11 has quite good standards support. I hope IE12 raises the bar even more. Keep up the good work. :)

  • Cory commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    So. Much. This. The negativity in the suggestion aside... You guys already have compat mode. Why not dump webkit/blink/MSBlink into IE12 and relegate the rest to a meta tag?

    This idea that unifying rendering engine will somehow stifle standards is insane. If anything, the lack of a single rendering engine has set the web back at least a decade.

  • Fabio Neves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Jose Webkit, Blink and Gecko are all open-source. Also, you can fork any of those and start your own project, if you fear Google interference so much. The important part is working in the open with a solid base. Duplication of effort is optional, but a fork would *still* be better, since it would allow for sharing patches (including security fixes).

  • Fabio Neves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Ben I would agree with you if IE's rendering engine was open-source. As it is right now, any development done in IE does pretty much nothing to advance web standards, since all code will be locked forever by Microsoft (or at least until it isn't relevant anymore - they open-sourced DOS this year!).

  • Ben Adams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Dear god no, this would be such a terrible thing for the web. Opera going Webkit->Blink was a sad day.

    I'd go the other way and suggest Microsoft should donate significant sums to the Mozilla foundation for Firefox development and the open standard driven web; but keep using and enhancing the IE engines.

    We need multiple vendors and multiple implementations to determine, establish and enhance the right standards - although the process is slow :(

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