Microsoft is serious about giving a fresh start to its own Internet browser, with the new Edge browser, which will be included in the upcoming Windows 10 operating system, to not include old technologies such as ActiveX.
Internet Explorer had collected a long list of abilities and features over its years of service that have become more of a burden to the company and to Web programmers. Microsoft is now taking out around two decades of this accumulated junk with the refreshed Edge browser.
The announcement was made through a post on the Microsoft Edge Development Blog made by the Microsoft Edge team. The post listed all the old technologies and APIs that Edge will not support, headlined by ActiveX.
The blog post described ActiveX as a binary extension model launched in 1996 that gave developers the ability to include native Windows technologies into web pages. The controls could be downloaded and then installed from a website, with the controls subsequently being loaded and rendered in Internet Explorer. Examples of plugins that use ActiveX are Flash Player and Acrobat Reader of Adobe, Java of Oracle, and Silverlight of Microsoft.
Other technologies and APIs that Edge will no longer support include Browser Helper Objects, Document modes, Vector Markup Language, and VBScript.
While Edge will be the default browser for Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep Internet Explorer around just to be able to support certain websites that are dependent on the browser's features.
As the Microsoft Edge team build the new browser out of Internet Explorer's core parts, they said that 220,000 lines of old code and over 300 interfaces that were exclusive to Internet Explorer have been removed in the migration to Edge. In addition, the development team added over 4,200 fixes that will allow Edge to operate more in line with its rival browsers that have overtaken the early success of Internet Explorer.
While the changes under the hood of Edge will not be noticed by the average user, they will be very important for the future direction of the Internet. This is because Web programmers will no longer have to spend much time in rewriting their codes to ensure that they will properly work in all the available browsers.
In addition, a faster, more secure and more modern Internet browser in Edge could help Microsoft restore is reputation in the Internet browser industry as competitors such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari leapfrogged over Internet Explorer in the recent years.