Dear Satya Nadella, I’m a web developer and deeply disappointed with the Edge team
Update: As of October 9, shadow DOM and custom elements are officially in development and scheduled for a future Edge release.
Hi dear Satya, I am writing here is because there has been (yet another) discussion on the Polymer slack channel about our disappointment with the communication issues of the Edge team around webcomponents, a newer web standard to streamline how to create re-usable components on the web without the need of a library such as React, Vue, Angular, etc., or by plugging those components into these libraries since webcomponents are library-agnostic.
To start this off, I am fully aware that webcomponents in general had a tough rollout, it took approximately 4–5 years to get consensus and get it implemented in browsers, but they are finally here with Firefox being the last browser to ship them in Q3 (ignoring Edge). So I don’t want to say the Edge team is the black sheep here in general, there were many factors why webcomponents had issues to become a real thing in browsers.
Before I expand on the reason for my disappointment, I also want to point out that I understand that the Edge team is not the same as we’ve come to dread in the past with the IE team. Edge is shipping a lot of great consumer-facing and developer-facing features. I actually have to compliment you for the smart move with the Sets feature to get more users to use Edge. And that’s precisely why I am concerned. I am concerned that there will be more Edge users after the Redstone update.
With that said, here is why I am deeply disappointed with the Edge team:
It has now been almost exactly three years since the Edge team wrote a blog post about implementing webcomponents, however nothing has happened since then. That by itself is not yet what is very troubling though. As a product manager I understand that priorities can often change, though not following up on a plan for three years is a bit of a stretch.
I am aware that the Edge team probably needs to do quite a lot of refactoring on the DOM implementation of Edge to make webcomponents work, the thing that really troubles me and a lot of people is the lack of communication around the issue.
If you look at the top upvoted uservoice tickets for the past three years, you may understand what the concern is about:
Not only are these the top upvoted tickets for at least three years (I believe it was already top 1/2 for at least 4 years), but worse is that nobody actually has given a single comment on the two tickets for God knows how many years and the status is still “backlog” with so much developer demand. Just read the comments and you’ll get an idea how pissed/disappointed people are.
Another disappointing example of this was the question for an update on an official platform recently, where Edge members assigned the ticket to people but no response was ever given.
webcomponents are in use for many major brands nowadays, from YouTube, to slack, to ING, to EA, etc. and most likely we will see their usage skyrocket due to support in all browsers except for Edge.
The times of webcomponents not being a valid choice due to lack of browser support are over and the Edge browser is the only browser (even Samsung and UC support them) not yet being committed towards making the web easier and more standards-compatible to work with.
The issue with this is that we need to download a 70kB polyfill just for Edge to load a site. Yes, you can load this conditionally only for Edge, however those polyfills just don’t offer a great experience due to performance issues and those polyfills also tend to break a site as it grows in complexity unless you keep a close eye on it and keep fixing bugs.
Dear Satya, we really just wish to hear an update from your team what their current progress is. Are they working on the DOM overhaul so they can start working on shadow DOM and custom elements? Is it not on the roadmap at all for the next year or two? The Edge team has pushed out a lot of great features such as Service Workers and support for ES Modules lately, please don’t forget that components (via libraries or webcomponents/libraries) have been the key building blocks of the web in the last 3–4 years.
I hope you can help let the developer community be heard.
Thank you very much