Microsoft unifies Edge desktop and mobile codebase

Microsoft Edge offers the same user experience on all desktop platforms, excluding a few Microsoft Account-specific features missing on Linux. However, on mobile platforms things are  different. On Android, Microsoft Edge is still on Chromium 77. On iOS, the browser uses an entirely different engine due to Apple's restrictive policies. This fragmentation makes developing the browser much more challenging and slower. To maintain all three versions and release new features simultaneously, Microsoft has to code a single thing three times. The first is for desktop, the second is for Android, and the third is for iOS. To get rid of this obstacle, Microsoft is working on unifying the codebase between all platforms.

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During the Ignite conference, Microsoft shared its plans about creating a single shared database for Edge. This change would improve the development speed and efficiency and help developers reach feature parity between mobile and desktop Edge. By unifying the codebase, Microsoft will follow other mainstream browsers' best practices, such as Google Chrome. Also, it will allow enterprise customers to apply the same policies to mobile and desktop versions. Finally, the change will boost the browser's performance on Android and make the browser more potent and competitive with mainstream offerings from Google, Firefox, etc.

Microsoft started working on unifying the codebase for Edge last year. Now the process is gradually approaching the final stage. The company says the first beta version with a common code will be available on iOS and Android in the coming month. Unfortunately, no specific dates have been provided.

Interestingly, the need to speed up browser development was one of the reasons Microsoft ditched its proprietary Edge Legacy rendering engine in favor of Chromium. Now, Edge receives major updates every six weeks and no longer requires new Windows 10 builds to deliver newest features. Hopefully, creating a single shared codebase will help speed up things on mobile platforms as well.

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