We’ve all been waiting patiently for Microsoft to roll out extension support for Edge, because who wants to use a browser without personalized tweaks? Well, it looks like we might get a sneak peek at Edge extensions sooner rather than later, even though they won’t officially show up until 2016.
Recently, Microsoft leaker h0x0d revealed a public Microsoft developer site showing a preview of Edge extensions with two sample downloads. The site was clearly published prematurely—a habit Microsoft has been getting into lately. (H0x0d also leaked a preview of some Microsoft Office apps back in May.)
It lacks final copy, such as a reference to which Windows 10 build Edge extensions are compatible with, as well as proper instructions on how developers can add extensions to Edge manually.
The site was taken down almost as soon as h0x0d publicized it—well before this writing. Nevertheless, the site remains in Google’s cache. The images won’t show up in Google’s saved version, so we’ll have to rely on h0x0d’s screenshot (pictured in this post) to imagine what the original site looked like. If you don’t recognize the domain (azurewebsites.net), this is a Microsoft-owned site for hosting Web apps built by Microsoft and users of the company’s Azure cloud services.
As for the extensions, one is a Pinterest “Pin it!” button and the other is the Reddit Enhancement Suite. Both extensions are available on Chrome, and RES is also on Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
You can’t download the extensions from Microsoft’s site via the Google cache, but h0x0d did manage to grab the files and put them up for public download before Microsoft pulled the plug.
In a subsequent tweet, h0x0d said the code for the Edge extensions is very similar to Chrome. “Basically substitute ‘chrome’ with ‘msBrowser’, add few minor changes, done,” h0x0d said on Twitter.
Taking a look at the code you can even see some references to “crx”, which is the file type for Chrome extensions.
The extensions don’t work inside the current version of Edge, but presumably users in the fast ring will be able to manually activate extensions in an upcoming build.
Why this matters: If Edge’s architecture will really make it possible to turn Chrome extensions into Edge-compatible ones with a few minor tweaks, that could be very promising for the future of Edge’s extension catalog. Of course, that’s what Microsoft also hoped would happen with its approach to apps for Windows 10 mobile devices, and so far that hasn’t panned out. But extensions are far simpler than mobile apps—and Edge isn’t the only browser getting in line with Chrome. Mozilla announced a similar approach for Firefox in August.