The new Microsoft Edge with Chromium is finally here in preview form, and right out the gate, it’s available via a couple of test channels, with more channels on the way. If you’re new to this method of building and using a web browser, the new test channels can’t be somewhat daunting. So, laid out all the channels to try and make it easier for you to decide which channel suits you best.
There are four channels for you to choose from when it comes to using the new Microsoft Edge. Here’s a rundown of them all.
The canary channel is designed for those who want to live on the very bleeding edge of new features and changes. It’s the channel for developers and enthusiasts who want to begin testing the latest features as they are being built. As such, this makes the canary channel the most unstable channel of them all due to unfinished features and changes being checked in for testing.
Unlike the other channels, this channel is updated most, almost daily in fact. While not every new build has new features to test, you can guarantee something has changed every time a new build is installed, even if it’s small or unnoticeable. There’s a chance that the changes breaks things badly, too. Edge Canary isn’t for the faint of heart.
The developer channel is a little more relaxed when it comes to update cadence. This channel is updated around about once a week and is a little more stable because it’s testing features that have already been in testing with those in the canary channel. Because it’s updated on a weekly cadence, these updates may include more features and changes at one time.
The developer channel is excellent for those who don’t want to be bombarded by daily browser updates but do want to test new features as they are still in development. This channel is designed primarily for developers building extensions and web applications that need to check their solutions to ensure upcoming changes don’t break anything.
This is the channel for most users and enthusiasts who just want access to upcoming features early, but don’t want to risk stability and browser performance. By the time new features are hitting this channel, they will have been in development and testing for several weeks, meaning they should be much more stable and ready for prime time.
The beta channel is updated every six weeks, making updates few and far between. But you can be assured that every new update will include at least one notable new feature or change. The beta channel isn’t available yet but will be coming sometime in the summer.
The production channel is the one that most people will be using. This is the channel that the regular, default version of the new Edge is set to. This is the stable channel, on an update cadence of about six weeks. It receives only stable new features and changes that have been in testing by the beta, dev, and canary channels for weeks.
If you don’t want to worry about unfinished features or stability problems, and just want a browser that works, the stable channel is the one for you. The stable channel isn’t available just yet, but it will be coming later this year.
Which one should you choose?
If you’re still not sure about which channel is best for you, I’d recommend going for the most stable version available. Right now, that’s the developer channel, but over time that recommendation will drop to the beta channel, and eventually stable channel as those become available. Even in the test channels, the new Edge is very stable, but that can’t always be guaranteed. You will always be able to ensure stability with the stable channel, so that’s the one we’re ultimately going to recommend for people who aren’t sure which one to go for.
If you’re happy to test unfinished features at the risk of less stability, the beta and dev channels will be great for you. The canary channel is for those who want to live on the bleeding edge, regardless of how stable or not the builds are.
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