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WebView2

WebView2 (WV2) is a control built by Microsoft that allows developers to render web content in their native applications. Underneath it uses the Microsoft Edge browser (which is Chromium based). This control replaces the old WebBrowser control (Internet Explorer based) and WebView control (based on EdgeHTML) with a modern and secure rendering engine. It is currently available on Windows platforms for developers of Win 32 C/C++, .NET, and under development for UWP and macOS.

Its first production ready release was in October 2020. Since then, some of the most relevant applications and companies that have adopted it are Microsoft Office, Outlook, and Morgan Stanley.

Summary

Characteristic
Websitehttps://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/webview2/
PlatformsDesktop
Rendering strategyBrowser engine
Code License[object Object]
CopyrightMicrosoft
Documentationhttps://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/webview2/
Communityhttps://github.com/MicrosoftEdge/WebView2Feedback
Latest version1.0.1020.30
Release cadenceMajor versions: not scheduled
Minor/patch: 6 weeks
Release support6 weeks
Update modelEvergreen or fixed
Governance modelMicrosoft driven

Platform support:

WindowsmacOSLinuxAndroidiOS
โœ…โš’
note

UWP and macOS support coming soon!

Language support:

C++C#GoJavaJavaScriptRust
โœ…โœ…

Release cadence, version support and update model

There are 2 parts to WebView2:

  1. The WebView2 SDK, which comes in the form of a NuGet package.
  2. The WebView2 Runtime, which is essentially an Edge browser binary, optimized for WV2 use.

The SDK and Runtime get updated every 6 weeks, in alignment with Edge. WebView2 offers a pre-release SDK with up-and-coming experimental features and a stable release SDK with only stable APIs. There is only 1 major version for the time being, and minor versions get released every 6 weeks. The reason is that the WV2 team guarantees a stable API with no breaking changes thus why a new major release is not needed.

One important characteristic of WV2 is the two distribution modes it provides for developer flexibility:

  • Evergreen: With the Evergreen model, the WV2 control is updated automatically with the latest features, security patches, and bug fixes. There is no need for developer intervention or application re-release.
  • Fixed: For developers wanting more control over their apps updates, WV2 offers the Fixed distribution mode. Here, developers are responsible for manually updating the WV2 version used by their applications.
note

Chrome has announced that starting in Chrome 94 (Q3 2021) they will switch to a 4 week release cadence. Edge and WebView2 will follow this updated cadence and move to 4 week release cycles as well.

Governance

WebView2 is developed by Microsoft, and built on top of the Edge browser platform. It is close source and developers can provide feedback via this GitHub repository.