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Looking back at Microsoft Edge for developers in 2021

2021 was an eventful year for Microsoft Edge. We built new PWA features that more deeply integrate apps with the operating system, we made PWAs easily available on the Microsoft Store, we included WebView2 by default in Windows 11 with automatic updates, we specified and implemented multiple new web features to make the most out…

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2021 was an eventful year for Microsoft Edge. We built new PWA features that more deeply integrate apps with the operating system, we made PWAs easily available on the Microsoft Store, we included WebView2 by default in Windows 11 with automatic updates, we specified and implemented multiple new web features to make the most out of diverse device capabilities, and released Edge on Linux!

With all this, it has never been so easy to build great applications that make the most of Microsoft Edge and open and standard web technologies.

Tooling has also been a big focus for us over the past year. VS Code and DevTools became ever more integrated, with several new workflows that meaningfully improve developer productivity and comfort.

These are just some of the highlights from the contributions we made to Chromium and numerous improvements to Edge’s user experience. Let’s dive in!

Web Platform

Our team is deeply invested in advancing the state of the web platform to empower developers to achieve their vision on the web. Since 2018, Microsoft has made over 6,300 commits to the Chromium open-source project to fix bugs and add new capabilities for web developers to leverage in their sites and apps.

In 2021, we landed several APIs that started out as explainers such as CSS Modules, the EyeDropper API, Delegated Ink, the Virtual Keyboard API, and the HapticsDevice API.

Let’s start with CSS Modules. CSS suffers from a few limitations that tend to make it hard to work with a UI component library. Over the years, the dev community came up with conventions and frameworks that help, but the language itself never changed to address these limitations.

CSS Modules improve the platform by extending the JavaScript module infrastructure to also work with CSS. JavaScript components can use this to download and apply the styles they need, allowing better dependency management.

Another one is the EyeDropper API, which allows creative applications to instantiate an eye dropper tool that can sample colors from anywhere on the screen. This was previously impossible to do on the web. Using an came close but it was harder to customize and didn’t provide a cross-browser way to let users pick colors. With this new platform specification, and the corresponding implementation in Chromium, we’re hopeful that all browsers will support it soon.

One of our big areas of interest in 2021 was making it easier to integrate with all sorts of device capabilities.

For example, we introduced a new specification, and implemented in Chromium, a way to greatly reduce web inking latency. Relying on predicting where the next points would be located, and leveraging OS-backed APIs to help reduce inking latency on Windows, this feature makes drawing on a canvas with a touch device feel much more natural.

We also worked on the Virtual Keyboard API to help applications know when and where the virtual keyboard is visible, and avoid getting their viewport resized to account for it. Instead, apps can now remain full screen, but know where the keyboard is, and reorganize their content accordingly. This is particularly interesting for dual screen devices where the keyboard can be on one screen while content is unaffected on the other screen.

Finally, our work on the HapticsDevice API will help web apps use the full capabilities of haptic-enabled surfaces of the devices they run on, and no longer be limited to the simpler navigator.vibrate() function, allowing for richer responses to user interactions. While this was originally implemented in Microsoft Edge to coincide with the Surface Slim Pen 2 launch, we are currently working with folks in Chromium to land this upstream and have plans to expand this beyond pen-based interactions to include input devices such as gamepads.

Edge on Linux

2021 was also the year where Microsoft Edge became generally available on Linux via our stable channel! This is a major milestone in our commitment to be available on all operating systems that developers use.

Tooling

Developer tooling was an important part of our work in 2021. This year we focused a lot of our time on making the tools you already know and love easier to use, more personal, and better integrated with each other.

With VS Code being a tool of choice for many web developers, we wanted to improve your lives when debugging issues. Our Microsoft Edge Tools for VS Code extension gained several new features that help bridge the gap between your debugging and authoring workflows, such as opening DevTools source files in VS Code, mirroring CSS changes between DevTools and VS Code, and better browser screencast in VS Code.

The VS Code extension and the browser DevTools now integrate with webhint to provide real time feedback and recommended fixes for major web development pitfalls and pain points, such as accessibility and cross-browser compatibility.

Making the tools easier to use for everyone is something we care about. On this front, we made a few changes to DevTools to make it easy to open, close, and move tabs so you can focus on the tools you need most, but still be able to access other ones quickly.

We made it even easier to customize DevTools too. You can now set your preferred language for the tools directly from the settings, or customize your keyboard shortcuts, or even choose from a dozen new color themes.

Finally, we released a preview of Focus Mode, a new UI paradigm that reduces clutter with a more modern and simplified layout.

You can find more of our latest changes directly within DevTools by using the Welcome tab. You can also check our What’s New announcement pages.

Tools for automated browser testing saw several welcome improvements as well. The latest release of Selenium 4 offers built-in support for the Microsoft Edge browser without the need for separate plug-ins or libraries.

Additionally, you can now automate Edge on Linux with Microsoft Edge Driver as well as Edge in Internet Explorer (IE) mode with IEDriver for testing legacy websites or apps.

Progressive Web Apps

In addition to evolving the core web platform and developer tools, Progressive Web Apps saw the debut of several new features in 2021: URL handling, Protocol handling, and Window Controls Overlay, which were all made available as origin trials for developers to try in production.

Protocol Handling allows PWAs to be launched by the operating system when certain registered (or custom) protocols are used. For example, your app can register to handle the mailto scheme and whenever the user navigates to a URL that uses it, the OS will present your app as one of the possible apps to handle the navigation.
Protocol handling is available to all starting with Microsoft Edge 96.

URL Handling is a feature that also makes it possible for apps to be more integrated with the operating system. Apps can register to handle certain links, typically their own, so that the app opens up instead of the website when a user navigates to the registered link. Just like with Protocol Handling, the user is in control of the experience here: the app is proposed by the OS as a possible choice among others, and it is up to the user to decide and set their preferred defaults.

The great benefit of contributing these features to Chromium is the ability to partner with other stakeholders in Project Fugu and, together, help make PWAs much more powerful and closer to what people expect installed apps to be capable of.

There’s another PWA feature we worked on this year that’s expected to make a difference in how PWAs look: Window Controls Overlay. This UX change allows users to opt-in to hide the app title bar. This seemingly small change has great design implications: apps can now make use of the entire surface area of the window, and blend in with the maximize, minimize and close buttons, displaying their own content where the title bar used to be. Learn more about this feature here.

Finally, thanks to the PWABuilder project, it’s easy to submit your apps to the Microsoft Store where millions of users can discover and install them.

Stay up to date with the latest changes with our PWA What’s New page.

WebView2

Before jumping into the 2021 highlights we wanted to thank you for your questions, comments, feature requests and bug reports on our WebView2 feedback repository. With more than 1000 reports in 2021, you actively helped shape WebView2!

The first highlight for this year is that it’s now even easier than before to build your app using the Evergreen Runtime distribution mode. The Evergreen WebView2 runtime is now part of the operating system starting with Windows 11. For developers who need to distribute their apps on prior OS versions, the runtime installers have also been updated with capability to install without elevation. For Enterprises that need to manage a restricted network, WebView2 updates are also added to the already familiar Windows Server Update Services catalogue so that Enterprises can still get the benefit of Evergreen without affecting their network setup.

In addition to the Win32 C/C++ and WPF/WinForms support shipped last year, WebView2 in WinUI 3 became generally available this year enabling a new class of apps. WinUI 2 and UWP WebView2 is now also available as a developer preview.

Performance is key for apps, and whether they use embedded web content shouldn’t change this. To help with this, our team shipped the new TrySuspend/Resume APIs this year which allow developers to suspend webviews when they’re not needed and therefore preserve memory.

On top of the above, we have been working with our developer community and added new APIs capabilities every 6 weeks (and now even faster with our 4-week release cadence). Here are a few examples.

The Download APIs allow customizing the download experience, letting your app display the downloaded content any way it chooses. The ContextMenu APIs allow customizing the contextual menu in WebView2 so that it has the same look and feel as the rest of your app. We also added the DefaultBackgroundColor APIs to specify the background color and transparency of the WebView2 control.

Watch our release notes or subscribe to our Announcement repo to stay tuned for the latest development.

Get in touch

We hope these improvements make web developers’ lives better, and that you’ll build great apps based on these features, tools, and APIs.

We couldn’t have done it without your help, comments, questions, and feedback. So, as always, please don’t hesitate to tell us what you think about Microsoft Edge by using the Settings and more > Help and feedback > Send feedback tool (or just press Alt+Shift+I).

Patrick Brosset, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft

Blooming Tree brings daily dose of gems to Monster Legends players

Players of Monster Legends can take advantage of a new feature to grow their monster collection and gain other rewards by coming back to the game daily. Look for the new Blooming Tree in the game’s shop, then purchase it to activate the Bloom and get your instant gems reward. Then return the next day…

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Players of Monster Legends can take advantage of a new feature to grow their monster collection and gain other rewards by coming back to the game daily.

Look for the new Blooming Tree in the game’s shop, then purchase it to activate the Bloom and get your instant gems reward. Then return the next day to collect your daily dose of gems, and keep coming back until the last day of blooming. Gems Bloom is active for 30 days after the purchase.

Also, players can now participate in the last event of the season: the Bounty Hunt. From Aug. 12 to Aug. 19, flip tiles to find the fugitive monster and defeat it. The more points you get in this event, the more leagues you will climb. Great rewards await players, especially at higher leagues: the new monster Goliathess is one of them.

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Microsoft is a Leader in The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites, Q3 2022

We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022. A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems…

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We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022.

A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems of record. “Dynamics 365 is purpose-built for this new world of business process. Our intelligent business applications connect data, process, and teams, ushering in a new era of hyper connected business and offering unparalleled value.” And over this past year we have been proud to see our customers take Dynamics 365 and show that there are really no limits to what can be done when you unite data silos with industry-leading AI and integrate collaboration tools throughout.

From the Campari Group’s ability to deploy bespoke personalization to their event attendees with real-time customer journey orchestration, to Dextra Group’s saving a whopping 60 percent on their customer relationship management (CRM) cost while also increasing seller productivity and lead quality, and to the city of Richmond, Virginia transformation of their non-emergency case management capabilities to deliver omnichannel engagement for improved efficiency and also becoming benchmark for how governments nationwide can utilize digital tools to better serve their communities.

What makes our CRM and connected products stand out for our customers? Here are seven key insights we have heard over the past year.

  1. Dynamics 365 provides an end-to-end, full-funnel solution. Dynamics 365 is the only portfolio of intelligent business applications that accelerates revenue outcomes by transforming selling experiences with a single intelligent, digital, customizable solution.
  2. Robust AI insights at your fingertips. Dynamics 365 enables everyone, across every team, to make better and more impactful decisions by converting data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI allowing teams to be more efficient and productive.
  3. Breakdown the barriers between people. We offer the leading workplace collaboration, video conferencing, and meeting software in the world with Microsoft Teams, which can connect seamlessly with our out-of-the-box CRM or be personalized to fit an organization’s needs with custom features.
  4. Personalize every experience. Dynamics 365 Marketing assists companies in more deeply understanding their customers and drives intent with AI-powered insights to deliver connected experiences—all the way from acquisition to retention.
  5. Streamlined, proactive, scalable sales. Dynamics 365 helps sales teams uplevel forecasting and revenue operations with built-in AI and machine learning and enhance seller performance with recommended next best actions, productivity tools, and real-time coaching.
  6. Breakthrough service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps organizations meet the evolving needs of every customer across every channel and increases customer satisfaction, while boosting frontline employee productivity regardless of location.
  7. Low-code transformation. With Microsoft Power Platform, organizations can provide anyone with the ability for low-code transformation with low-code, intuitive, extensible tools that seamlessly connect to Dynamics 365. 

It’s an honor for us that so many organizations look to us for help modernizing sales, marketing, and service operations. As Forrester states in its report, “Microsoft’s strong vision, the breadth of its suite, and its partner ecosystem and industry solutions drive its 40% year-over-year growth, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and retail.” We genuinely believe that with connected data, underpinned by industry leading AI and insights, there are no limits to what organizations can do. From upleveling employee experiences, to improving team productivity, and building deeper relationships with customers. It is all available with Dynamics 365.

Learn more

To learn more about how Microsoft compared with the other eight selected providers, please navigate to The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 website and get your copy.

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Exchange Online Basic authentication is going away: What you need to know

Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change. How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics…

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Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change.

How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics 365 and Power Apps?

After October 1, 2022, any connection to Exchange Online that uses server-side sync or the Dynamics 365 Email Router with Basic authentication (username and password) will quit working. Dynamics 365 mailboxes that use these connections will no longer be able to:

  • Send email from Dynamics 365 through Exchange Online
  • Retrieve email from Exchange Online
  • Synchronize appointments, contacts, or tasks between Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online

This change doesn’t affect connections that use Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization).

How can I find out if I need to prepare?

If your company is using server-side sync or the Email Router to connect to Exchange Online using a username and password, you need to act. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your organization is affected and what you need to do if it is.

Review your Message Center Posts (recommended)

The fastest and most reliable way to know if you need to prepare and what to do is to look in the Microsoft 365 Message Center. (You must have admin rights to sign in to the Message Center.) The Exchange Online team has been sending monthly Message Center posts to all affected customers with the following title format: “Basic Authentication – Monthly Usage Report – 2022.”

If your organization is using server-side sync with Basic authentication, you may also have received Message Center posts from the Dynamics 365 or Power Apps services. Look for posts with the following title: “Impact due to Exchange Online disabling Basic Authentication.”

The posts provide detailed information about the change and actions you need to take before October 1.

Check your Dynamics 365 email settings

If you don’t find any posts in the Message Center, read our guide on how to check whether your organization is affected and if it is, what you need to do before October 1.

Learn more

You can find more information, including FAQs, in the documentation:

Use of Basic authentication with Exchange Online | Microsoft Docs

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