Microsoft (briefly) reveals new extensions for Edge, including Reddit and Pinterest
Thu 10 Dec 2015
A sharp-eyed Twitterer has caught a brief glimpse of what appears to be an instructional page for Windows insiders on how to install extensions for Redmond’s web browser, Edge, even though support for extensions is not available in any current build and implementation of add-ons has been officially delayed until 2016.
WalkingCat, aka @h0x0d, found the page in an Azure-based development domain. Although the Azure app running the domain has since been turned off, the bare bones of it can be seen via Google Cache (with styled version pictured left), and shows that the initial extensions on offer are a Pinterest ‘pinning’ plugin and ‘a group of enhancements for browsing Reddit’, a port of the Reddit Enhancement Suite for Google Chrome.
The ephemeral page features placeholders for Edge developers to fill in, and does not specify which upcoming build will carry the functionality. Installation is fairly clunky, as one might expect in a development environment:
In preview releases of Microsoft Edge, extensions are added manually:
1: Download an extension.
2: Drop the entire .zip file into C:/cool/Microsoft/Edge/path
3: That’s it! If you don’t see the extension icon in the “more” menu (the last icon in the URL bar), you may need to restart the browser.
It’s a good time for Microsoft to play catch-up in the field of extensibility, since fading rival Firefox is currently suffering a storm of controversy about moving its add-ons architecture over to the standards for Google Chrome extensions. The fact that the Reddit port is featured on the now-vanished Edge extensions page does indicate, however, that Mozilla are right to chase a unified add-on market which has been popularised, though arguably not innovated, by Google’s Chrome browser.
Despite Microsoft’s controversially aggressive tactics to upgrade recidivist Windows users to Windows 10, which features Edge, take-up of the browser even in that demographic has been disappointing for the company so far. Edge’s standards-compliance has been a primary feature of the new release, since Microsoft has been plagued by proprietary implementations of contemporary web-standards throughout the evolution of its Internet Explorer browser.
The Microsoft EdgeHTML rendering engine is a fork of the Trident engine underpinning later builds of IE, but has ‘since diverged rapidly’ according to Microsoft, who promise that the forked engine will be ‘evergreen, with standards-based interoperability at its core’. However Edge will divert users to Internet Explorer when it loads a web page which uses ActiveX, and that still covers a lot of government pages that got stuck in the IE6 swamp over a decade ago, though South Korea has committed to weaning itself off that discredited web technology by 2017.