Edge Extensions are almost identical to Chrome, can run with only minor changes

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft’s new browser team has a lot riding on their shoulders. With reports of diminishing engagement among Microsoft’s Edge browser surfacing as well as copious amounts of user feedback regarding the shortcomings of the browser efforts thus far, the team behind Edge could use a big win, and soon.

As Microsoft nears its developer conference on March 30th, 2016, news about long-awaited Edge extensions have begun to make their rounds online, even if inadvertently. Perhaps more telling than the inclusion of the extension feature coming to Edge is how future extensions could arrive to the browser.

A curious developer looked into Microsoft’s implementation of extensions and discovered what could turn out to be that big win the Edge team has been in need of, Chrome capability.  Based on a leaked landing page that was quickly removed, the Edge browser’s first foray into extensions will be a small one, with three downloadable extensions for now. Microsoft Translator, Reddit Enhancement Suite, and Mouse Gestures are the first available extensions with rumors of more to come (after Build 2016 presumably).

However, a little more digging uncovers that Microsoft’s Edge browser extension system is “nearly 100% compatible” with that of Google’s counterpart.

It’s currently impossible to get these extensions working in Edge (in Insider builds that is), but since the upcoming extension system in Edge is rumored to be compatible to Google Chrome’s system I decided to try to load them in Chrome to find out just how compatible they really are. Turns out they’re nearly 100% compatible.”

Testing the available Edge extensions in the Chrome system and a quick massaging of file names and folders and the developer was successful in loading the Microsoft Translator, Reddit Enhancement Suite, and Mouse and Gesture extensions.

Success! The Edge extension loads without any further problems and looks like any regular Chrome extension.”

Edge extensions can run in Chrome with only minor modifications.

Based on his testing and current understanding of the extension system being made available to the Edge browser, the developer believes the source code Microsoft implemented was intended to look very similar to that of Chrome. While the process isn’t as simple as copy and paste and requires a bit of reworking “chrome” replacement with “msBrowser” and adding manifest.json to some code, the Edge team may be on the cusp of finally delivering a win for Microsoft’s new browser and Chrome holdouts on Windows 10.