Microsoft Edge WebView2 is Now Generally Available

Posted on October 19, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Microsoft Edge with 9 Comments

Microsoft announced today that its the first version of its Chromium-based Edge WebView2 developer technology is now generally available.

“We are excited to announce that Microsoft Edge WebView2 for Win32 C/C++ is generally available and ready for use in production applications,” the Microsoft Edge team announced. “With today’s announcement, we are officially releasing a forward-compatible WebView2 SDK along with production-ready WebView2 Runtime. These can be used in any Win32 C/C++ application, and are supported across existing Windows versions.”

What’s not available yet, however, is WebView2 for .NET—meaning Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)—and WinUI 3. Both are currently in preview; WebView2 for .NET is expected by the end of 2020 and WebView2 for WinUI 3 will ship whenever WinUI 3 is released in 2021.

For those unfamiliar, WebView2 is the new version Microsoft’s embedded web control. Now built on the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge, WebView2 lets Windows app developers access to the latest web technology in existing and new desktop apps. (And, soon, .NET and WinUI 3 apps.) Today, developers can deploy WebView2 using a so-called evergreen distribution model in which it is always kept up-to-date automatically by Microsoft. But by the end of 2020, Microsoft will make a fixed distribution version of WebView2 available for those with strict compatibility requirements.

Going forward, new releases of WebView2 will be released alongside new versions of Microsoft Edge every six weeks.

You can learn more about WebView2 from the Microsoft Docs website.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Edge WebView2 is Now Generally Available”

  1. andy72

    I see the great tradition continues unabated.

  2. bart

    Can someone give me a practical example of how this will benefit end users? Because this is all mumbo-jumbo to me :)

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to Bart:

      Basically, for windows applications built by developers, they can now use a new Webview control that is based on Chromium rather than old Edge or IE. This is for applications that have or use a webpage inside the application. Any of the other browsers that were Windows Store Apps used the old Edge webview and would be able to use the new one when WinUI 3 version is finalized. Other windows applications (win32 based) can use the new webview now--like maybe a windows game that has a web window for help/wiki content embedded in the actual game. I use one to view Xml files in a custom application, so I get nice formatting without having to do that myself.

      • bart

        In reply to darkgrayknight:

        Right, thank you for the info. Especially "This is for applications that have or use a webpage inside the application" gives me an idea of what this is all about.

        • Paul Thurrott

          Well. Microsoft uses this for Outlook as noted here: New features are web-based and can appear in all Outlook clients.
    • Paul Thurrott

      It's a developer feature. It will be used to bring web tech to native apps. If it works well, you won't really even realize it.
  3. ianw789

    @Bart : For a long time local Windows apps have been able to have a region in their app present html/web content by having a pared down instance of Internet Explorer embedded in their app as a control. If I read this right they are now providing that capability via Edge. But yeah - not so obvious.

  4. programaudio

    Thank you for the tip! I am a Win32 C++ dev, and assumed this release was pushed back with WinUI until 2021.

  5. bluvg

    Perhaps Outlook will start to use the Chrome/Edge renderer for HTML email?

  6. Jari Pennanen

    This is great news, but it's worth to remember that it doesn't yet ship with the Windows 10. This means that if you want to ship WebView2 app, it still requires installer (see this Github Issue).

    However I'm pretty sure that they will fix this when they have time. But for the time being it's a bit clunky because your small static executable requires installer of some sort.

    Notice that WebView2 doesn't ship with Edge stable, it was separated from that. If you are interested on that decision too, they explained it on that same issue also.