back to article In case there was any doubt about using legacy Edge, Microsoft 365 throws its weight behind WebView2

The death march of legacy Edge and Internet Explorer 11 continued today with an addition to the Microsoft 365 roadmap warning that new features would likely rely on WebView2. WebView2 is the Chromium-based update of Microsoft's WebView control, which was used to show web content in Windows Forms or WPF desktop applications. …

  1. J27

    They should add an "Edge rendering mode" to IE11 and use it to render all pages in a WebView2 that don't have IE specific tags. I'm sick of writing IE detection scripts that patiently explain too customers why IE is not an acceptable browser anymore.

    1. Boothy

      I'd rather they just remove IE like they are doing with legacy Edge.

      If Chromium Edge has an IE mode for the (hopefully) few remaining web apps that need IE, why still have IE installed at all?

      1. Hubert Cumberdale

        I'd rather they just removed them all, or at least let me do it myself. This bit:

        April's Patch Tuesday, due on the 13th, will strip [legacy Edge] from the operating system...

        is great. It's been bugging the hell out of me that I can't get rid of it myself. This bit:

        ...and pop a Chromium Edge icon into the OS instead.

        is not so great. I'm just hoping that my start-up script:

        cd %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft\Edge\Application\8*\Installer

        setup --uninstall --force-uninstall --verbose-logging --system-level

        will keep working. I should have the right to choose whether I want a browser installed, but it seems that they've entirely forgotten what happened twenty years ago. Fuck you, Microsoft. Just, fuck you.

      2. needmorehare

        IE Mode has unresolved bugs in tabbed mode, that's why!

        When you trigger a file download using Edge in IE Mode as a tab, it runs through Edge's engine not IE's. This includes which cookie jar it uses. So, when you're a sysadmin like me who has to implement seamless support for your security-fixes-only document management system which relies upon ActiveX controls, you need Internet Explorer itself. If you don't, file downloads no longer work as intended because the DMS doesn't see the user as logged in when performing downloads.

        Until simple design issues like this are resolved in IE Mode, one needs the compatibility option of having Edge spawn an actual Internet Explorer window for legacy sites. This is to cater for users clicking on links which reference the DMS in emails, to allow Edge to be the default but spawn IE automatically as appropriate.

        Thankfully, Microsoft now offers the reverse option of having IE spawn Edge for any websites which have not been whitelisted by GPO, closing off the loophole of people using Internet Explorer to actually browse the Internet through links within the DMS.

  2. iron Silver badge

    > As for Internet Explorer, Microsoft is desperate that customers stop using it and switch to an alternative browser.

    Then why do they insist on supporting it for the lifetime of Windows 10? Until they actually announce it is no longer supported or actively remove current installs employers will continue to insist that our code must be IE compatible because <stupid large customer> is still using it as their corporate browser standard even though all their employees secretly use Chrome.

    Internet Explorer... 25 years of hate and still counting. >:(

    1. Boothy

      Just being pedantic, but it's not the lifetime of 'Windows 10'.

      Quote from MS: "Internet Explorer 11 will continue receiving security updates and technical support for the lifecycle of the version of Windows on which it is installed."

      'Windows 10' is not a version number, that's basically a brand name, '1909', '2004', '20H2' etc are the version numbers.

      MS could (I hope) one day simply not include IE in some future version of Windows 10, at which point it would no longer be supported on that version, but would continue to be supported on the older versions whilst they were still in support.

      Just a guess, but we are due a new LTSC version of Windows 10 later this year. That would likely be an ideal time to announce a last version of Windows to support IE. That way anyone who really really still needed actual IE for some reason, could use the '21H?' LTSC version of Windows 10, whilst the next version of Windows after that (typically ~6 months later), could come without IE.

  3. Boothy

    IE is the Internet!

    For some people anyway!

    I was on a call (Teams presentation) just last week with someone from outside our organisation, the presenter was sharing their Desktop (rather than a specific document), you could see the taskbar, and on the taskbar, that they'd not only pinned IE (no Edge or other browser icons visible), but actually had IE open and in use! (The IE icon had the blue underline showing it was is use, just in the background).

    Someone asked why they were using IE rather than Edge, i.e. did they need this for a legacy application? The response was that they'd always used IE for the Internet, and then asked us what Edge was! (This was an admin person, rather than anyone technical).

    In my mind, IE really shouldn't be part of the default installation in the OS. In fact, is it even needed now [*] if Edge has an IE mode?

    * I'm aware some of the legacy libraries might still be needed by the OS/some apps etc. But at least remove the IE icon etc. (or redirect it to Edge or a browser selection screen instead)!

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: IE is the Internet!

      I agree (although usually get downvoted for saying) that there is no reason why IE needs to be installed by default on every new Windows 10 installation. A lot of people don't need it any more, far more than do. So it should be optional to install it for those that still have legacy sites that require it and not burden the rest of us with its awfulness.

      As for MS pushing Chrom-Edge on everyone even I don't agree with that either. I never use old Edge so why take my internet bandwidth, cpu cycles and disk space to install your latest browser I won't use. Just give people the option to download new ChromEdge if they happen to open the old version after support ends

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A fundamental principle abandoned

    One of the fundamental principles enunciated by Tim Berners-Lee on inventing the WWW was client agnosticism - the principle that the significant content of a service should be accessible without regard for the recipient's specific technologies in use. Not any longer though - indeed not for quite some time.

    I absolutely accept that entirely new protocols will require systems to be updated, but all the necessary protocols for Teams to actually function are already supported - this seems just a way of forcing change without user benefit. I also accept that presentation will be technology dependent, sometimes extremely so, but "graceful degradation" should always allow the message to get through even if not beautifully presented.

    Such moves by MS seem primarily dedicated to ensuring churn and therefore revenue. Keeping everyone upgrading is what keeps the business alive.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox GeckoView

    In case you're unaware, Firefox has its own embedded browser to compete with WebView, known as GeckoView.

    The big advantage of it, a) it is its a full browser in a view and b) it doesn't attached tracking headers, c) it runs javascripts as if they were assets, not as strings, which makes them easy to debug. Geckoview really is a full browser, Mozilla wrap it in a frame to form Firefox Android!

    No "X-Requested-With" : So it's common for Chrome Webviews to be blocked because they're weird subsets used in custom apps, and so websites often just block them on mass by detecting the tracking header Google slaps on it with the app name in it, the "X-Requested-With" header. Webviews often don't work on sites that they should in theory work on.

    Geckoview should be the fix, however GeckoView has a major issue. Unlike every other fooking Webview in the world, Mozilla guys decided you couldn't simply invoke Javascript directly from the wrapper. So no calling

    view.evaluateJavascript(sStripPageOfFluff, ....

    and running some javascript in the view context.

    Instead they have Webextensions, which sadly only work if there is one Geckoview to control (because of the way they store the messagedelegate isn't per session and one view holds one session), and since these extensions are per domain (WHY WTF??) a page can fail to load, or get intercepted by an interstitial ad, or the javscript code crashes because of some unforeseen conflict, or whatever and that's the end of it, and then you've lost control of the browser wrapper because it didn't start the domain specific code.

    The browser is brilliant when it works. A full Firefox, a proper browser, one that you can lock to a specific version to match your wrapper code. But its only great, just as long as you run ONE instance of the view, and reload the full page each time you lose control of it.

    So no splitting Android tablet up into lots of browser panes, setting the pages up to show the important content in the frame. Stripping out all the ads and crap you don't want distracting you, none of that is possible. One view only.

    From their comments, Mozilla devs think webextensions approach is better...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We have always been at War with

    Edge and Internet Explorer 11."

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