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tomscharbach
Super Contributor

I spent a few hours yesterday working though the current Windows Beta build (Version 79.0.309.56 (Official build)), updating an "outstanding issues" checklist that I built in September, looking for remaining issues that are likely to cause problems at the railroad museum where I volunteer as the IT director, and figuring out what I have to do to mitigate those issues and/or train member-volunteers to work around the issues after a cutover from EdgeClassic to EdgeChromium.

 

As background, I have a functional deadline of February 28 to decide what to do about EdgeClassic/EdgeChromium, because we are seasonal operation, open to the public from April 1 to October 31. Most of the volunteer-members using our computers are older men and women, with varying levels technical skills, as you might expect, and most have eyesight and small motor issues common to older people, so I have to design for accessibility concerns.

 

As I went over the September checklist, I found that all but three issues on the list were resolved, at least enough that none of them will prevent deployment.

 

Three issues remain outstanding as of Beta Version 79.0.309.56:

 

(1) Sync - Favorites sync is not working reliably at this point, and the myriad of issues reported by Canary and Dev users seems to have bled over into Beta to some extent (see "Is the Sync up?" 12-19-2019), probably because Microsoft is mucking around at the server level. If this is resolved by the end of February, then no harm, no foul. If not, I'll continue to block the cutover until November.

 

(2) Font Rendering - The "wimpy font" rendering issue remains outstanding (see "Improve font rendering to be on par with Firefox or at least original Edge" 4-09-2019). I see no indication that Microsoft intends to address this issue after months and months of requests. This was a deal breaker, considering the age of the volunteer-member base using our computers. I learned the other day that the Google Chrome Store has several extensions that provide a workaround, bringing EdgeChromium rendering up to EdgeClassic/Firefox standards (almost, anyway), and if I deploy, I will deploy with one of the extensions in place.

 

(3) Favorites Menu Flyouts - The flyout menus for Favorites/Bookmarks are an absolute mess (see "Please -Bring over the classic Edge Favorites experience with pin-able side menu!" 11-20-2019) presenting a serious accessibility issue for users with lessened small motor skills. I see no indication that Microsoft intends to do anything about this issue, now or in the future. As a workaround, I am in the process of redesigning the railroad's Favorites so that the Favorites will deploy off drop-down folders from the Favorites Bar, without nesting, and will I prepare training materials for our member-volunteers. I think that the flyout menus are going to come as a real shock (and a pain in the butt) to current EdgeClassic users after the cutover, with or without accessibility concerns, and it is a self-inflicted wound considering the number of threads (going back to April-May) requesting the change.

 

The other outstanding issue, of course, is what will actually happen during the cutover. Microsoft has published a number of advisories about the cutover, but I've been around IT too long to take the advisories as conclusive. I'm going to cutover a few computers as soon as I can, and see if any issues develop as a result of the cutover. I hope none arise.

 

All in all, though, I think that Microsoft has done a good job, and EdgeChromium is ready for deployment.

15 Replies
Hi,
You can test the Enterprise Edge insider stable from the link below
https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Discussions/Official-Download-links-for-Microsoft-Edge-Stable...

and unlike the previous ones, this has 2 distinct features:
1. it is uninstallable.
2. it is an offline installer.
as we are getting closer to the release date and Microsoft employees being on holidays, they will probably have around 1 week before January 15's release date so there is a high chance that the version of Edge stable from that link is actually the final one.
you might get a day 1 update though.
just like Windows itself. Microsoft RTMs a build 2 months before public release and on day 1 everyone will get a cumulative update.

Also you can have both of them side by side without blocking either of them from being installed/uninstalled.

@HotCakeX "You can test the Enterprise Edge insider stable from the link below ..."

 

The Enterprise version (the version downloaded through your link as MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi) and the consumer version (the version downloaded through Microsoft Insider as MicrosoftEdgeSetupBeta.exe) are the same version (both 79.0.309.56), but neither seem particularly useful for testing Microsoft's planned upgrade process through the Windows 10 updater because both are manual installs and neither imports favorites/bookmarks from EdgeClassic; both link to the EdgeChromium server's MSA if available**.  The difference between the two installs is that Enterprise removes EdgeClassic and the Windows Insider install does not.

 

"... there is a high chance that the version of Edge stable from that link is actually the final one ..."

 

I assume so, since the Enterprise version and the consumer version are identical build numbers. 

 

=================

 

** I brought one of the railroad's computers home for a clean install of Windows 10.  At present, the computer is a clean version of Windows 10 set to a local account rather than an MSA, so if EdgeChromium is going to install bookmarks from anywhere, it will be from EdgeClassic.  I'll take some time tomorrow to populate EdgeClassic with a set of "fingerprinted" favorites/bookmarks and see what happens when I install the Enterprise version.

That's not the only difference.

They do import favorites/reading list/tabs set aside etc from Edge classic and even from Internet explorer.
I just tried it myself a couple of hours ago.


@HotCakeX 

"They do import favorites/reading list/tabs set aside etc from Edge classic and even from Internet explorer."

 

You are right about that (as it applies to favorites -- I don't have reading lists or tabs set aside, not do I use IE, so I'll take your word for that).  I didn't notice it immediately after install because my Favorites Bar on the test machine (1366x768) masked the import from Edge because the Chromium favorites took up the entire bar.   I took a closer look after reading this post and saw the duplicates.**

 

It looks like EdgeChromium imported the EdgeClassic bookmarks and added them to the EdgeChromium bookmarks.  In any event, I now have 16 duplicate favorites on the Favorites Bar, and 11 duplicate favorites in the "Other favorites" menu, the EdgeClassic favorites contained in a folder labeled "Bookmarks".

 

I'm glad you prodded me into looking closer.  This is something I had been wondering about, and now I know what will happen in cases where there are two MSA sets, one on the EdgeClassic server and the other on the EdgeChromium server.

Well that's good to hear :)

@HotCakeX "Well that's good to hear :)"

 

I guess so. 

 

I suspect that Microsoft Edge Insiders might be surprised, though, if consumer-side Windows Update installation follows the path of Enterprise-side msi installation and creates duplicate Favorites/Bookmarks. 

 

What appears to happen with MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi is that EdgeChromiumEnterprise installation brings over EdgeClassic Favorites/Bookmarks from the EdgeClassic-server tied to the user's MSA, and adds them to EdgeChromium Favorites/Bookmarks on the EdgeChromium-server tied to the user's MSA, creating duplicate Favorites/Bookmarks, then replicating across all EdgeChromium installations tied to the user's EdgeChromium-server MSA.

 

That was my experience, anyway.

 

As discussed in other threads, I prepared to test EdgeChromium installation by creating two identical lists of Favorites/Bookmarks, one in EdgeClassic and one in EdgeChromium.  To "fingerprint" the source, I marked all Favorites/Bookmarks in EdgeClassic with an "E" or an "e" and marked all Favorites/Bookmarks in EdgeChromium with a "C" or a "c".''

 

That created these sets of Favorites/Bookmarks:

 

(1)  EDGE CHROMIUM BEFORE INSTALLING MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi:

 

On the Favorites Bar:
ForumC,MmailC,YmailC,GmailC,FBc,BingC,GmpsC,AmzC,RtrC,NflxC,ABc,JMGc,TWCc,tURLc,MSNc,511C
In "Other Favorites":
NEWSc-Advocate,NEWSc-Alternet, NEWSc-Capitol Times, NEWSc-Politics Today-Early & Often, NEWSc-Mother Jones, NEWSc-New York Times, NEWSc-Politico, NEWSc-Real Clear Politics, NEWSc-Washington Post, NEWSc-Wisconsin State Journal, NEWSc-Wonkette, MARKER1**, MARKER2**

 

(2)  EDGE CLASSIC BEFORE INSTALLING MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi:

 

On the Favorites Bar:
ForumE,MmailE,YmailE,GmailE,FBc,BingE,GmpsE,AmzE,RtrE,NflxE,ABe,JMGc,TWCe,tURLe,MSNe,511E
In "Bookmarks Menu":
NEWSe-Advocate,NEWSe-Alternet, NEWSe-Capitol Times, NEWSe-Politics Today Early & Often, NEWSe-Mother Jones, NEWSe-New York Times, NEWSe-Politico, NEWSe-Real Clear Politics, NEWSe-Washington Post, NEWSe-Wisconsin State Journal, NEWSe-Wonkette, MARKER1**, MARKER2**

 

I then ran the MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi installation routine, resulting in this set of Favorites/Bookmarks:

 

(3) EDGE CHROMIUM AFTER INSTALLING g MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi:

 

On the Favorites Bar:
ForumC,MmailC,YmailC,GmailC,FBc,BingC,GmpsC,AmzC,RtrC,NflxC,ABc,JMGc,TWCc,tURLc,MSNc,511C,ForumE,MmailE,YmailE,GmailE,FBc,BingE,GmpsE,AmzE,RtrE,NflxE,ABe,JMGc,TWCe,tURLe,MSNe,511E
In "Other Favorites":
NEWSc-Advocate,NEWSc-Alternet, NEWSc-Capitol Times, NEWSc-Politics Today-Early & Often, NEWSc-Mother Jones, NEWSc-New York Times, NEWSc-Politico, NEWSc-Real Clear Politics, NEWSc-Washington Post, NEWSc-Wisconsin State Journal, NEWSc-Wonkette, MARKER1**, MARKER2**
In an "Other Favorites" folder titled "Bookmarks Menu":
NEWSe-Advocate,NEWSe-Alternet, NEWSe-Capitol Times, NEWSe-Politics Today Early & Often, NEWSe-Mother Jones, NEWSe-New York Times, NEWSe-Politico, NEWSe-Real Clear Politics, NEWSe-Washington Post, NEWSe-Wisconsin State Journal, NEWSe-Wonkette, MARKER1**, MARKER2**

 

CAVEATS:

 

(1) I do not know whether EdgeChromium installation through the Windows Update process (that is, as I understand it from you and the documents I've read, the deployment plan  for consumer-side cutover) will or will not include a routine to identify duplicates and remove them.  It is quite possible that the Windows Update process will not create duplicates or eliminate duplicates during installation. 

 

(2) The "duplicate" issue will only affect users (such as Microsoft Edge Insiders) who have an EdgeChromium-server list of Favorites/Bookmarks existing at the time of cutover; the issue will not affect users who are not (and have not been at any point) Microsoft Edge Insiders and do not have an EdgeChromium-server list of Favorites/Bookmarks.

 

(3)  I do not keep passwords in my browsers and have not tested whether or not passwords will duplicate, and I have not tested what happens with other elements being brought over from EdgeClassic.


===================
** MARKER1 and MARKER2 were favorites/bookmarks created to test whether the cutover process would treat absolutely identical favorites/bookmarks as duplicates, eliminating one set on cutover. MARKER1 points to an identical link in both the EdgeClassic and EdgeChromium sets, as does MARKER2. The cutover process did not identify either MARKER1 or MARKER2 as duplicates of one another and eliminate one or the other when cutting over.

 

 

The import process you described is normal, the only problem that is and has been all the time is that Edge sync servers and browsers don't have the functionality to prevent duplicate favorites.

@HotCakeX "The import process you described is normal ..."

 

"Normal" as in "SNAFU".

 

"... the only problem that is and has been all the time is that Edge sync servers and browsers don't have the functionality to prevent duplicate favorites."

 

EdgeClassic is notorious for creating duplicate favorites/bookmarks and creating duplicate folders within the Bookmarks Menu, seemingly almost at random during sync, and for dropping favorites/bookmarks, again seemingly almost at random. 

 

The message and help boards are full of discussions about how messed up EdgeClassic sync has been over the years.  I've experienced problems myself, although EdgeClassic has never been my primary browser.

 

I hope that EdgeChromium will be a little more stable in this respect, although given all the sync issues I've been reading about in this Forum of late, I don;'t have a high level of confidence.

 

Anyway, back to topic:  Since I already have duplicate sets of favorites/bookmarks, after the cutover I expect to have triplicate sets of favorites/bookmarks.  That will be a treat.

 

I'm sometimes glad, in a snarky sort of way, that Microsoft doesn't look like it will get around to going cross-platform with Linux in my lifetime, so I won't have to make a choice about whether to make Edge my primary browser.  Firefox just works -- it handles complex bookmark structures without messing anything up, has robust font rendering, and users don't have to play "whack a mole" with flyout bookmark menus.

I'm actually using Firefox Dev as my main browser too, yes it's got a very decent sync and i love that i can sync manually using the sync button so i won't have to wait for the browser.
the only problem I have with Firefox sync is that they don't sync my bookmarks favicons so i have to reload all of my bookmarks at least once every time I install it.

I hope Edge learn from Firefox and also Vivaldi to make a robust sync service and add a sync button so we can sync our data manually too.

@tomscharbach Thanks for the detailed feedback. To address your original post, specifically item #3 -- have you tried our new way of managing favorites? You can access it three ways: navigating to edge://favorites/, using CTRL + SHIFT + O, or by clicking the Favorites star then selecting "Manage favorites." This will give your volunteers the option to navigate/search through static and distinctly spaced tiles instead of the dynamic nesting ones in the regular drop down.

 

Hopefully that will adequately meet those accessibility needs! If not, can you please give us more details about what would be necessary?

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

@fawkes  "To address your original post, specifically item #3 -- have you tried our new way of managing favorites? You can access it three ways: navigating to edge://favorites/, using CTRL + SHIFT + O, or by clicking the Favorites star then selecting "Manage favorites." This will give your volunteers the option to navigate/search through static and distinctly spaced tiles instead of the dynamic nesting ones in the regular drop down.   Hopefully that will adequately meet those accessibility needs! If not, can you please give us more details about what would be necessary?"

 

Thank you for your advice.  I had not considered using "Manage Favorites" (a tool intended for editing, deleting and moving Favorites) as a substitute for the Favorites menus.  It works, I guess, if nobody hits an "X" and deletes a Favorite, or others alters the "Manage Favorites" list.

 

But it is -- to be both frank and blunt -- an absurd workaround.  The problem exists in the flyout menu structure itself, which is both unnecessarily complicated and hard to manage.

 

My preference would be to eliminate flyouts entirely and use the EdgeClassic nested list motif. The EdgeClassic nested list UI works extremely well, and presents none of the issues that the Chrome-clone flyout UI presents. Trying to add fixes to the flyout motif is just putting lipstick on the pig, as far as I am concerned.

 

And, to be entirely clear, I have no expectation at this point that Microsoft is going to change the Favorites menu structure from flyout to nested list.  This has been a topic of concern by a significant number of Insiders for close to 9 months now, and Microsoft has never responded to any of the numerous posts on this issue.  With launch in about 10 days, it is not realistic to expect Microsoft to do anything before launch, and after launch, the flyout menu structure will, I am afraid, be set in stone.


But, let me give you a demonstration about how absurd the flyout motif is, using an example given in the thread "Please -Bring over the classic Edge Favorites experience with pin-able side menu!"  I think that the example (screenshots are taken from my personal setup, which uses the nested menu structure extensively) will give you a better understanding of the reason why Insiders have been requesting that Microsoft go back to the EdgeLegacy nested list UI for Favorites.


As background, keep in mind that I am trying to do something very simple -- get to this specific bookmark/favorite as it appears in a nested list (Technology, Linux, Virtual Machine, OSBoxes):

 

Nested Target.jpg

 

Now, keeping that level of simplicity in mind, watch the steps I need to take (and the mess that the flyout menus make of the screen) while I am taking the steps needed to get to that Favorite using the flyout menu structure.

 

In each screenshot, the menu outlined in yellow is the menu that opened as a result of the click, that is, the "active menu".

 

Step 1: Click on the "Favorites Icon"

 

A dropdown menu appears:

 

F-1.jpg


Step 2: Click on "Other Favorites"

 

A flyout opens to the left:

 

F-2.jpg

 

Step 3: Click on "Technology"

 

Another flyout opens to the left:

 

F-3.jpg

 

Step 4: Click on "Linux"

 

A flyout opens to the right, overlaying menus 1 and 2:

 

F-4.jpg

 

Step 5: Click on "Virtual Machines"

 

A flyout opens to the left, overlaying menu 3:

 

F-5.jpg


Finally, after playing Whack-a-Mole with five flyout screens opening on top of one another, I can actually click on the "OS Boxes" link:

 

F-5a.jpg

 

Before going on, I invite you to look at that last screen shot.  Could you tell me, just by looking at the screen how I got to that link and where I am in the menu structure?  Or tell me what menu is active and what menus are not without the yellow box outline I put in indicating the active menu? Or even tell what screens are on top of each other at this point?

 

Others have put forth quite a number of reasons why the EdgeLegacy nested list menu structure is superior to the Chrome-clone flyout menu structure, but I focus on two other issues, both related to accessibility:

 

(1) the flyout UI is very difficult to handle by anyone who has an deficiencies in small motor control, because the flyouts are not stable in the way that the nested list in EdgeClassic is stable; and

 

(2) the flyout UI is similarly very difficult (almost impossible, in fact) to use by anyone who has hand tremor issues.

 

I'll grant you that I could ask volunteers to ignore the in-built menu structure and use "Manage Favorites" instead.  I don't intend to do so, though, because "Manage Favorites" is intended for editing, moving and deleting Favorites -- managing them, in a word -- and isn't, in my opinion anyway, a suitable vehicle for simply accessing menu items.  The risk of a mistake -- deleting a Favorite or a Favorite Folder, for example -- is too high a risk, particularly in an environment where Favorites are synced across a number of computers.  A single, simple mistake, and 10-11 computer users are affected.

 

I've worked out a strategy to work around the flyout menu structure.  Basically, I'm going to ignore the flyout menu entirely.  I'm organizing Favorites (the railroad museum has 47 Favorites) into five categories, creating a Favorites Folder for each of the five categories, and putting the five Favorites Folders (and nothing else) on the Favorites Bar.  No Favorites at all will exist in the "Other Favorites" list.  What users will get are five dropdown menus on the Favorites Bar (each with between 3 and 7 Favorites) and no flyouts.   I've tested this with a few volunteers and it seems to work.

 

So if my workaround works, what is wrong? What's wrong is that bookmarks/favorites are a core component of using a browser productively, and setting a default UI that is not accessible to users with minor disabilities makes the browser less useful than it might otherwise be.  We should not have to be doing workarounds on something so basic as a user-friendly menu structure.

 

By the way, I want to thank you for being so responsive on this Forum.  You are a champ!

 

@tomscharbach 

 

Totally agree!!

 

You can not explain better!

 

It is something that has been requested in many threads of this forum. In any browser, good bookmark management is essential.

 

Personally I have resorted to a third-party extension to access favorites. And for its management I still use the favorite folder of "My documents" and then importing them from IE11. But this someday can not be done and it is a great shame because I am convinced that it is the way many users use.

 

@tomscharbach, thank you very much for your detailed explanation.

 

Greetings

 

--------------
(Spanish)

 

Totalmente de acuerdo!!

 

No se puede explicar mejor!!

 

Es algo que se lleva pidiendo en muchos hilos de este foro. En cualquier navegador, una buena gestion de los favoritos es fundamental.

 

Personalmente he recurrido a una extension de terceros para acceder a los favoritos. Y para su gestion sigo usando la carperta favoritos de "Mis documentos" y despues importandolos desde el IE11. Pero esto algun dia no podra hacerse y es una gran pena porque estoy convencido que es la forma que utilizan muchos usuarios.

 

@tomscharbach, muchas gracias por su explicacion tan detallada.

 

Un saludo

@tomscharbach I'm sorry that the "Manage favorites" option won't fit your use case. Thanks for the illustrative screenshots; I definitely hear you on how this could create challenges regarding accessibility and UI. 

 

As you recognized, we can't make any promises, especially with 9 days to go. However, I've directly passed all of this on to the Favorites team and will let you know if they have questions or insights. 

 

And thank you for the nice words, the positivity is appreciated! Our team is excited to be taking an increasingly active role in the discussions here, and I'm glad that I can help facilitate product changes using Insider feedback when possible.

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

@fawkes "As you recognized, we can't make any promises, especially with 9 days to go. However, I've directly passed all of this on to the Favorites team and will let you know if they have questions or insights."

 

I don't expect anything to change before deployment, and once the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, I don't think that Microsoft can eliminate the flyout menu structure. 

 

What might be a workable solution going forward, however, would be for Microsoft to create the EdgeLegacy nested list menu structure and give users a choice between flyout and nested structures, allowing users to pick using a toggle on the Settings menu.

@tomscharbach Thanks for the suggestion! The Favorites product team wanted you to know that they're thankful to you (and the other commenters) for providing such detailed feedback and to reassure you that they're working really hard on addressing these concerns. (It sounds like this feedback has been on their radar for a while, so I know it's top-of-mind.)

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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