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Microsoft Edge Extends Users Control for Flash Contents, EdgeHTML 14 Released

Since before HTML5 was introduced, Adobe Flash has long enabled rich content and animations in browsers, now with modern browsers enabling improved web experiences without Flash, Microsoft today said, the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10 will now give users more control over Flash by selectively pausing certain Flash content, like ads, that were not central to the page.

Further, since Flash is still an integral part of many web experiences today, initially HTML5 transition will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash. On these sites, “Flash will not even be loaded, improving performance, battery life and security.” And, users “will be given an opportunity to decide whether they want Flash to load and run.”

Microsoft notes, they’ll actively monitor Flash consumption in Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions. And by the end the process, “users will remain in control as they’ll be able to choose Flash for any site they visit.”

Windows Insiders will be able to try an early implementation of this feature soon in upcoming preview builds, and will evolve with stable release in the Windows 10 Creator’s Update next year.

Web developers are advised to migrate to standardized content delivery mechanisms like “JavaScript and HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, Canvas, Web Audio, and RTC” in the coming months, Microsoft said.

These changes are similar to updates coming from Apple, Mozilla, Google, and many others are now enabling sites to exceed those experiences without Flash and with improved performance and security.

User clicks on a blocked Flash control

User clicks on a blocked Flash control

Microsoft also introduces EdgeHTML 14, the third and most significant update to the Microsoft Edge web platform since the initial release a year ago.

Developers can begin testing EdgeHTML 14 by updating their Windows 10 device or downloading a free virtual machine from Microsoft Edge Dev.

EdgeHTML 14 includes support for dozens of “new HTML5 standards, media formats, and JavaScript features, for the first time tying Firefox on HTML5Test and maintaining a healthy lead over Safari,” Microsoft stated.

The new features supported in EdgeHTML 14 include:

  • New HTML5 standards
  • Web Notifications API (see Web Notifications in Microsoft Edge)
  • Fetch API (see Fetch, or the undeniable limitations of XHR)
  • Web Authentication API (FIDO 2.0 Web API) (see A world without passwords: Windows Hello in Microsoft Edge)
  • Beacon Interface
  • Time element
  • Data element
  • Output element
  • Input type = color
  • Canvas Path2D objects
  • Web Speech API (synthesis) (see Introducing the Speech Synthesis API in Microsoft Edge)
  • New formats
    • WOFF 2 fonts (see Speed up page load with WOFF 2.0 fonts in Microsoft Edge)
    • Opus audio playback (see WebM, VP9 and Opus Support in Microsoft Edge)
    • VP9 video playback (see WebM, VP9 and Opus Support in Microsoft Edge)
  • New JavaScript features (on by default)
    • Default parameters (ES6) (see Previewing ES6 Modules and more from ES2015, ES2016 and beyond)
    • Exponentiation operator (ES2016) (see Previewing ES6 Modules and more from ES2015, ES2016 and beyond)
    • Array.prototype.includes (ES2016) (see Previewing ES6 Modules and more from ES2015, ES2016 and beyond)
    • Object.values and object.entries (ES2017)
  • Experimental JavaScript features (enable via about:flags)
    • Modules (ES6) (see Previewing ES6 Modules and more from ES2015, ES2016 and beyond)
    • Async/await (see Asynchronous code gets easier with ES2016 Async Function support in Chakra and Microsoft Edge)
    • Regex symbols (ES6)
  • F12 Developer Tools
    • Accessibility tree view (see The Web Should Just Work for Everyone: Microsoft Edge and Inclusive Design – Web Summit 2016)
    • Extension debugging (see Building Extensions for Microsoft Edge – Web Summit 2016)
    • DOM API profiling
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