Windows 10 extensions
Now, more than seven months after Edge officially hit the scene, Microsoft is finally plugging that hole with a preview build (14291) of Windows 10.
“In keeping with our commitment to an interoperable web, we’re participating in the W3C Browser Extension Community Group’s efforts to define standardized extension APIs [application programming interfaces] based on familiar Web technologies,” Chee Chen Tong and Mike Pietraszak, both senior program managers for Microsoft Edge, wrote in a jointly-authored March 17 blog post. “This release supports a selection of preview extensions that have been validated by our team to work with the current set of supported APIs,” they continued.Currently, those extensions include Microsoft Translator, Mouse Gestures and Reddit Enhancement Suite, a collection of quality-of-life improvements and user interface customization tools for the popular community site. Similar to Google Translate functionality in Chrome, the Microsoft Translator extension can translate the contents of a foreign-language Web page with a single click. Mouse Gestures allows users to perform browsing tasks (forward, back, close tab and more) with a series of clicks and mouse movements.Future extensions will be made available through the Windows Store app marketplace. Microsoft claims the approach will help improve security and simplify the discovery and installation experience for users. During the preview, however, extensions must be loaded manually. Microsoft plans to share more details on its Edge extension APIs and Windows Store integration during the upcoming Build 2016 and Microsoft Edge Web Summit conferences.Browser extensions aside, Microsoft’s browser developers are also focused on improving accessibility.As one of the group’s priorities for 2016, the Edge team is working on delivering tools that help developers build and test accessible sites. In terms of Edge itself, Microsoft is striving to improve high contrast support and readability for visually impaired users.And while Microsoft isn’t going as far as Firefox in blocking Adobe Flash, the company signaled a major change in how the its browser handles Flash content in 2016. Microsoft has started work on isolating Flash into a separate process and on pausing “unnecessary content,” announced the software maker last month.