| EdgeHTML as it is now is similar like WebKit, and Chakra is similar to V8.
| V8 and WebKit are widely used for web application development frameworks.
| IOTW, HTA may no longer be a web based application for systems. But rather
| normal application.
HTA never was web-based. One of the few requirements
is that it must be running locally. "Web applications" are a
different animal -- essentially highly interactive webpages
Those only use what people like to pretend is safe scripting.
They are designed to be powerful in terms of visitor tracking,
interactivity and back-end connection. HTAs are a UI for
Windows programming. The only commonality is the heavy use
of scripting in an HTML-rendering window.
| But let's not forget the special mode to run the HTA files, here. That
| may actually expose VBScript and ActiveX, in order to keep compatibility.
| What people are most complains about is the ActiveX in the web browser.
| don't complain about (or don't even aware of) ActiveX in HTA. HTA may
| be unaffected by Edge.
Yes. They stripped down IE and rebuilt it to make
Edge as a "normal" web browser. It no longer has
access to VBS, ActiveX, BHOs, or any of the Explorer
tie-in. That's radical. In a sense it's a return to the
pre-Active Desktop IE.
I don't know how many people are aware of the
IE/Explorer tie-in, but it's very extensive. I once wrote
an Explorer Bar shell extension. (The panel on the left in
folder windows.) It can't be separated from IE. One
can only filter IE-related messages. Or conversely, if
writing the Bar for IE one gets the tie-in to folder
windows. And the listview object in a folder window
is still an InternetExplorer object.
I've also written a mime filter. With just a couple of
Registry entries one gets complete control over IE
webpages *before* IE gets them.
Then there are common functions like URLDownloadToFile.
Many programmers use that to download files, but it's
actually an IE wrapper.
IE is part of the Windows API in many ways. MS did
that deliberately to 1) beat out Netscape and 2) make
a case in court that they couldn't separate IE from
Windows. They didn't just make a browser to compete
with Netscape. They molded an OS to compete with
Netscape. Adding ActiveX and COM scripting worked out
so well that they kept going. That single addition of
CreateObject (or ActiveXObject) made all the difference.
When security became a concern they came up with
HTAs so that IE itself could be made more secure. In a
sense, the HTA invention was the first fork, but only
a partial one. Shdocvw.dll was wrapped by mshta.exe for
HTAs and by iexplore.exe for IE.
Edge is a sandboxed version meant to compete with
other browsers and be standards-compatible. It makes
sense. They can't make a safe browser without separating
it from Windows. But of course there is the question
of whether it's sufficiently separated from Windows.
Either way, it's sterile for scripting purposes.
Which means the future of HTAs has nothing to do
with Edge, one way or the other. It just depends on
whether MS feels they need to keep supporting
corporate scripting, which means keeping IE around.
Even now, IE11 can use compatibility mode to bring
back normal IE functionality like VBS. Edge can't. It
doesn't have that functionality at all. The Edge
userAgent is actually spoofed to mention Chrome,
Safari and Gecko, while removing "MSIE". They want
webpage designers to treat it like the other major
I think what they did makes a lot of sense. IE can
now be the scripting UI for Windows software. The
only problem is that they still insist on trying to use
their browser for customer lock-in. They're still being
sleazy. Edge is still tied to Windows and it's being
designed for "consumer" use, with emphasis on things
like push notifications AKA ad subscriptions.
A new, sleazy browser that can only work on 25% of
Windows computers and can't run at all on Mac or
Linux is not a browser. It's a crippled specialty program.
A Win10 "phone app". On my own site I check for
IE11 and Edge. For visitors using IE11 I show a message
saying they need to enable compat mode. For visitors
using Edge I show a message that they'll need to use
*any* other browser. It's bad enough that I need special
webpages just for IE. I'm not about to buy Win10 and
start testing a 3rd set of pages for a new browser
used by just a few people. It's unfortunate that MS don't
just make a real browser. They're so good at making
software. It's only the sleaze factor that messes it up.
I don't doubt that if they went about it with honesty
and decency, just trying to make a good browser to
serve the customer as well as possible, they could make
the best and most innovative browser, and that they
could do it without any sneaky leveraging of Windows.