Browser Memory Limits

Web browsers are notorious for being memory hogs, but this can be a bit misleading– in most cases, the memory used by the loaded pages accounts for the majority of memory consumption. Unfortunately, some pages are not very good stewards of the system’s memory. One particularly common problem is memory leaks– a site establishes aContinue reading “Browser Memory Limits”

Avoiding Unexpected Navigation

For over twenty years, browsers broadly supported two features that were often convenient but sometimes accidentally invoked, leading to data loss. The first feature was that hitting backspace would send the user back one page in their navigation history. This was convenient for those of us who keep our hands on the keyboard, but couldContinue reading “Avoiding Unexpected Navigation”

Enigma Conference 2020 – Browser Privacy Panel

Brave, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge presented on our current privacy work at the Enigma 2020 conference in late January. The talks were mostly high-level, but there were a few feature-level slides for each browser. My ~10 minute presentation on Microsoft Edge was first, followed by Firefox, Chrome, and Brave. At 40 minutesContinue reading “Enigma Conference 2020 – Browser Privacy Panel”

Demystifying Browsers

Last update: Sept 24, 2020 I started building browser extensions more than 22 years ago, and I started building browsers directly just over 16 years ago. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that I’m entering the grizzled veteran phase of my career. With the Edge team continuing to grow with bright youngContinue reading “Demystifying Browsers”

AppOrWeb-to-WebApp Communication: Custom Scheme Handlers

I’ve previously written about Web-to-App communication via Application Protocols. App Protocols allow web content to invoke a native application outside of the browser. WebApp advocates (like me!) want to continue to close the native/browser gaps that prevent web applications from becoming full-fledged replacements for native apps. To that end, I’ve recently spent some time lookingContinue reading “AppOrWeb-to-WebApp Communication: Custom Scheme Handlers”

Restrictions on File Urls

For security reasons, Edge 76+ and Chrome impose a number of restrictions on file:// URLs, including forbidding navigation to file:// URLs from non-file:// URLs. If a browser user clicks on a file:// link on an https-delivered webpage, nothing visibly happens. If you open the the Developer Tools console, you’ll see a note: “Not allowed to load local resource:Continue reading “Restrictions on File Urls”

Browser Architecture: Web-to-App Communication Overview

This is an introduction/summary post which will link to individual articles about browser mechanisms for communicating directly between web content and native apps on the local computer. This series aims to provide, for each mechanism, information about: On which platforms is it available? Can the site detect that the app/mechanism is available? Can the site send more than one messageContinue reading “Browser Architecture: Web-to-App Communication Overview”

Updating Browsers Quickly: Flags, Respins, and Components

By this point, most browser enthusiasts know that Chrome has a rapid release cycle, releasing a new stable version of the browser approximately every six weeks. The Edge team intends to adopt that rapid release cadence for our new browser, and we’re already releasing new Edge Dev Channel builds every week. What might be lessContinue reading “Updating Browsers Quickly: Flags, Respins, and Components”

Challenges with Federated Identity in modern browsers

Many websites offer a “Log in” capability where they don’t manage the user’s account; instead, they offer visitors the ability to “Login with <identity provider>.” When the user clicks the Login button on the original relying party (RP) website, they are navigated to a login page at the identity provider (IP) (e.g. login.microsoft.com) and then redirectedContinue reading “Challenges with Federated Identity in modern browsers”

Edge79+ vs. Edge18 vs. Chrome

Note: I expect to update this post over time. Last update: 8/13/2020. Compatibility Deltas As our new Edge Insider builds roll out to the public, we’re starting to triage reports of compatibility issues where Edge79+ (the new Chromium-based Edge, aka Anaheim) behaves differently than the old Edge (Edge18, aka Spartan, aka Edge Legacy) and/or GoogleContinue reading “Edge79+ vs. Edge18 vs. Chrome”