Microsoft’s Proof-of-Concept JavaScript Browser is Built using HTML, JavaScript and CSS

While Microsoft’s JavasScript Browser might not be practical for most users (yet,) it’s definitely an interesting experiment and also provides a peek at one of many directions in which browsers might be heading in the future.

Surprise, surprise. Microsoft released a new web browser yesterday that is not Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. The Windows Store page of the JavaScript Browser went live yesterday evening. The new browser is compatible with the company’s Windows 10 operating system which means that Windows 8.x users won’t find it listed in Store when they search for it.

The browser has been released as a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the capabilities of the Windows 10 platform.

The browser works like any other app on Windows 10: you can open it from the start menu for instance. When you do, the following screen is displayed by default.

microsoft javascript browser

Keep in mind that this is more of a tech demonstration than a browser that you may want to switch to right now.

The interface looks similar to modern browsers. What you may notice immediately is that it does not support tabs. This means that you can only display a single web page or service in it at all time.

When you play around with the browser for a bit, you will notice that other components are missing. For instance, while settings are available, they are limited to going full screen and clearing the cache and favorites.

Other missing features include extensions, web permissions, Developer tools or on-page search.

The browser uses EdgeHTML, the Microsoft Edge rendering engine, via the WebView control that Windows 10 apps can utilize.

Microsoft published a blog post that offers additional details about the development process. Source code bits and development information have been posted to Github where interested users can access them.

Basically, JavaScript Browser is a skin that implements the provided WebView controls. It is capable of displaying most websites just fine thanks to its use of the Edge rendering engine. You may use it to play videos on YouTube, or to browse sites like Reddit or Ghacks.

The browser does not support plugins which means that you won’t be able to load Flash or Java apps or games on websites.

Closing Words

JavaScript Browser is a proof-of-concept. As such, it is not designed to replace existing (desktop) web browsers. The browser crashed several times on me during tests which happens occasionally with other modern apps as well.

While it worked fine mostly for basic tasks such as watching a video or reading an article, it lacks customization and control options that other browsers offer.

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