While it’s fair to say that Windows 10 shipped in incomplete form last July, one piece of Windows 10 has remained developmentally well behind the rest over the intervening months. But that’s finally getting fixed, with the Microsoft Edge web browser picking up its first major functional update ever: Support for extensions.
“Since the beginning of the Microsoft Edge project, our roadmap has always included extensions in order to support a vibrant community of developer innovation on top of the browser, enabling new and interesting scenarios for our customers,” Microsoft Edge general manager Drew DeBruyne writes in a new post to the Windows Experience Blog. “We have built Microsoft Edge so customers can add extensions to the browser with the confidence that they will operate as expected.”
Yes, it’s only available to Windows Insiders today, of course, and yes it’s only a preview. And yes, it will be some months—probably mid-year–before this feature ships to “normal” users. But with the release today of an Insider build of Windows 10 that supports an early, extensions-capable web browser, Microsoft is finally taking an important step towards making Edge truly usable.
“We have built Microsoft Edge so customers can add extensions to the browser with the confidence that they will operate as expected,” DeBruyne continues.
The latest Windows Insider preview build—build 14291—is likewise now available, for both PCs and Mobile on the Fast ring. Only three extensions are available at the moment: Mouse Gestures, Microsoft Translator and Reddit Engagement Suite. More are on the way, Microsoft says.
Microsoft announced its plans to deliver Edge extensions last year, but there’s been some concern—with the recent delay of the “Redstone” 2 milestone in particular—that this feature might slip as well. But this week’s delivery firmly puts Edge extensions in the “Redstone” (1) time frame, meaning it should ship publicly to customers by mid-year.
“Extensions are among the most requested features for Microsoft Edge and we’re building an extension platform powered by web technologies and familiar to developers,” a Microsoft noted recently. “Any browser extensibility is a potential vector for malicious software, and our extensions will be vetted, delivered, and managed through the Windows Store.”