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Microsoft aims to make Edge faster with the WebUI 2.0 project

Something to look forward to: Microsoft is trying to make the Edge browser more responsive, especially for users on low-end devices. The WebUI 2.0 project is already providing some positive results now, and it should make the browser even better down the road.

Despite being part of every new Windows installation since 2015, Edge is still experiencing less-than-stellar popularity among PC users. Nevertheless, Microsoft is committed to investing significant development resources to improve its Chromium-based web browser with new features, better performance, and AI-related capabilities, which perhaps no one ever asked for.

According to a recent post on the Edge blog, Redmond developers are working to make all user interactions with the browser faster and more responsive. Users can already see the first results of this effort in Edge 122, an update released on February 23, 2024, which brought performance improvements for the user interface (UI) in the Browser Essentials feature.

Starting with version 122, the UI became 42 percent faster for all Edge users and 76 faster on devices without an SSD drive or with less than 8GB of RAM. In Edge 124, “Favorites” received an overhaul, giving it a 40-percent performance and UI responsiveness boost. Microsoft developers plan to continue increasing browser responsiveness over the coming months thanks to a new internal project known as WebUI 2.0.

WebUI 2.0 is a new, markup-first architecture designed to simplify the Edge source code structure, minimizing the amount of JavaScript code running during the UI initialization path. Edge extensively uses JavaScript to render Edge’s UI, but the code wasn’t modular enough, and many common bundles were shared by different components even though this wasn’t “strictly necessary.”

The new WebUI 2.0 concept follows a modular approach, and Microsoft uses a repository of web components tuned for performance on modern web engines. The company plans to make some packages available to third-party organizations through an open-source license. However, compatibility with browser engines outside the Chromium platform (i.e., Mozilla’s Gecko) remains unknown.

Microsoft first implemented WebUI 2.0 with Browser Essentials, and the test proved the new architecture could work on different types of devices. Developers are converting more parts of the Edge UI, which means Edge users should get a snappier web browsing experience as WebUI 2.0 development progresses.

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