Internet Explorer, the blundering behemoth with a not-entirely-undeserved reputation for woeful performance, has been the default way of getting online and browsing the web in Windows for more than 10 years. Many of us have experienced browser rage as a result of this, but no longer! Microsoft have decided that IE’s time has come and will be replacing it with a new browser when Windows 10 is released at the end of July.
While greatly improved in recent years, Internet Explorer has been unable to shake the poor reputation it built up due to earlier versions (particularly IE6, 7 and 8) being slow and difficult to use. Past attempts to re-invigorate the brand have been unsuccessful, so Microsoft obviously now feels that IE should be thrown onto the scrapheap of history and that it’s time for a new contender.
As a web development agency, we’re intimately familiar with the pain, anguish and torment of supporting Internet Explorer. Although recent versions of the browser have been much more standards-compliant, previous incarnations have rendered web pages in their own special way, meaning lots of additional work was needed to ensure websites looked and worked the same across all browsers.
The new browser which will be bundled with Windows 10 is called Microsoft Edge (previously codenamed Project Spartan), and preliminary tests show significant improvement in speed against IE 11; roughly on par with other popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. That’s some time ago now, though, and it’s likely that Microsoft Edge will see further performance gains once it’s released next month. This is good news for users, but the real test from our perspective will come once we start checking through websites to ensure the designs and functionality remain unchanged.
Just as there’s occasionally differences between Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer right now – maybe some changes in the alignment or sizing of page elements, or disparity in levels of support for HTML5 – we’re expecting the first release of Microsoft Edge to introduce discrepancies to sites which might cause them to display poorly or cause some functionality to not perform correctly.
There’s good news for those of our clients on our new Silver or Gold support tiers – as part of these packages we provide a “browser check” service where we perform a full site test whenever there’s a new release of a major browser version to identify any obvious irregularities that should be resolved. As an added bonus for our Gold clients, we also include the resolution of any issues as part of the service.
If you’re not a client or on one of these support tiers though, never fear – we can still check your site over in Microsoft Edge once it’s released and send you a nifty little report identifying any concerns or potential issues with the display or functionality of the site which could be caused by the new browser.
If you would like your site to be reviewed for discrepancies in Microsoft Edge, or want more information about how a new browser could affect your site or business, please get in touch with our team of experts.