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How does EdgeHTML affect webpage rendering?

Microsoft Edge outstrips Internet Explorer in terms of performance and security with a new rendering engine called EdgeHTML.

Edge is Microsoft's new browser for Windows 10. It uses a rendering engine developed specifically for the lightweight browser, but it doesn't make Internet Explorer obsolete.

The new engine is called EdgeHTML, and it takes elements from the Internet Explorer (IE) Trident rendering engine, but leaves a lot of the legacy features behind. It strips out technologies such as ActiveX, VBScript and Browser Helper Objects.

With these unnecessary elements out of the picture, EdgeHTML might occasionally come across a webpage that it cannot render properly -- or at all. In that case, users can open the page in IE directly from Edge. By including IE, Microsoft was able to focus on building a new browser to meet today's needs, while still being able to support the legacy functionality of 20-year-old websites and their applications.

Edge does not currently support extensions, which could present a significant challenge to users who rely on them to do their jobs. Edge does come with Adobe Flash and PDF reader built directly into the browser. In addition, Microsoft promises it will add support for extensions in the near future. Because Edge embraces open standards such as JavaScript and HTML5, users can more easily adopt extensions running on other browsers to Edge than they could with IE.

Edge should also prove to be more secure than IE because it includes features such as sandbox rendering and adheres to standards such as HTML5 Content Security Policies and HTTP Strict Transport Security.

Not surprisingly, Edge outperforms IE, but it also appears to be on par with Chrome. Once Edge is fully stabilized, supports extensions and other features some users might deem missing, it will be easier to tell how well Edge will do over the long haul.

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This was last published in September 2015

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