By Paul Winstanley, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Consultant, SCCM Solutions Ltd. He has 20 years experience in IT and is a community contributor to Windows Management User Group (WMUG) and blogs at sccmentor.wordpress.com.
On January 21st, Microsoft unveiled their next generation of browser as part of the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Microsoft Edge, developed under the code name Project Spartan, promises to replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
Spartan was released on build release 10049 of the Technical Preview and with recent releases the official title of Microsoft Edge is now used.
What do end users need to know about the new browser and what place does Internet Explorer have in a corporate environment that is reliant on a particular version of the legacy browser?
Internet Explorer, whilst not dead and buried, will be deprecated by Microsoft at some point in the future. How this will be handled over time has not been announced at present. Businesses should start to take note that work will be required to move away from IE as Edge does not support plugins. More on this later.
The first thing that you will notice when using Microsoft Edge is that it is fast, blindingly fast, at loading up content. In fact the latest figures from Microsoft's Gabe Aul are impressive:
'On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than Chrome
On Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than Chrome
On Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome'
You certainly get the feeling of these performance gains when firing up pages that render with incredible speed.
To ease users across the to new browser, the new icon gives a nod back to the past. A re-designed IE 'e' icon that will be familiar to anyone looking to launch a browser.
Once launched the user sees a slick, minimal interface devoid of clutter.
As mentioned, Edge does not support plugins. So it's goodbye to Java, Silverlight and Active X and Browser Helper Objects are gone. There is a built in PDF Reader, and Flash is included and will be updated through Windows Update
Cortana is integrated into the browser. Cortana is a digital assistant there to make the browsing experience easier for you. Cortana will come to your assistance when it has some information that is useful to you. For example, visit http://cuoco-seattle.com/ and you'll be told that Cortana has 'got directions, hours, and more' for you.
Selecting this will bring up a side-bar of information.
Cortana also allows you to ask information about content on the web page. By simply highlighting content, right clicking and choosing 'Ask Cortana'...
you get the results you are looking for.
Microsoft Edge introduces a new concept called Web Notes. The ability to annotate and share information from the browser. This is achieved by clicking the 'Make a Web Note' icon in the top right of the browser.
A tool bar appears in the browser which allows you to highlight areas of the page, draw, doodle and write.
Sections of the page can be copied using the Clip icon
…and shared out to either One Note or via mail.
Reading view introduces a new way to reduce clutter even further and move the content into a clean and simple reading layout that's ideal for a tablet or mobile device.
When content can be viewed in reading view, the icon in the browser will become highlighted.
A page such as this
...is converted into reading view with ease.
Switch over to IE
Finally if you are using a page that isn't rendering correctly in Edge you can switch to using Internet Explorer from the 'More actions' menu.
Windows 10 is here! Make sure to keep up-to-date with the blog as we release further Windows 10 related articles
Is your website compatible with Edge? We've put together this 5 point guide to making sure your website rocks on Microsoft Edge. Have a read or forward on to the person that builds your website : https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/developers/articles/week04jul15/5-ways-to-make-your-website-rock-on-microsoft-edge/
Need some help with Windows 10, check out our article on "Getting started with Windows 10 for IT Professionals"