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October 19, 2020

Announcing Microsoft Edge WebView2 General Availability

Today, we are excited to announce that  Microsoft Edge WebView2 for Win32 C/C++ is generally available and ready for use in production applications! With today’s announcement, we are officially releasing a forward-compatible WebView2 SDK along with production-ready WebView2 Runtime. These can be used in any Win32 C/C++ application, and are supported across existing Windows versions.

We know a lot of you are also eagerly awaiting our .NET and WinUI 3 GA, and they are coming soon, too. You’ll find some details below, but you can also subscribe to our new announcements page or check our release notes to stay up-to-date on everything about WebView2. 

Before we get into details, we also want to thank all of the developers that have been with us on the journey through preview, helping us shape the product through early adoption and continual feedback. We look forward to continuing to partner on what comes next.

So, with that, let’s talk a bit more about WebView2 and what the GA release means.

WebView2 is Microsoft’s new embedded web control, built on top of Microsoft Edge (Chromium). This means that as a Windows app developer you will now have access to the latest web tech in both existing and new apps. WebView2 lets you combine the ease and agility of developing for the web with the power of building a native desktop application. If you’re not familiar with WebView2 yet, our Ignite talk this year provides a great overview to bring you up to speed.

WebView2 is also a part of Project Reunion, which means it will be available across Win32 and UWP applications, as well as in a few different UI stacks. Here is a quick recap of the current frameworks, and where things are at:

  • Win32 C/C++ – GA today 🎉🎉
  • .NET (WinForms & WPF) – preview available, and GA planned by end of 2020
  • WinUI 3 – supported in WinUI 3 preview for UWP and Win32, and GA planned with WinUI 3 GA

WebView2 also provides two different distribution models – Evergreen and Fixed Version. Evergreen WebView2 is the mode in which the underlying web platform (WebView2 Runtime) is always up-to-date and automatically updated by Microsoft, giving you access to the latest web capabilities and security fixes. The Evergreen WebView2 Runtime is also shared by all apps adopting the Evergreen model, saving disk footprint.

For apps that have strict compatibility requirements, the Fixed Version allows your app to bundle a copy of the WebView2 Runtime that doesn’t self-update, and you as the developer are in control and responsible for updating the Runtime.

  • Evergreen – GA today🎉🎉
  • Fixed Version – available for preview for both Win32 C/C++ and .NET, and GA planned by end of 2020

For those of you following along with WebView2, you may know that during our preview stage we aimed to release a new SDK every 6 weeks. Going forward, we’ll continue to be agile as both WebView2 SDK and Runtime updates will generally align with updates to Microsoft Edge Stable channel. With each Microsoft Edge Stable browser update you can expect:

  • An automatic update for apps using Evergreen WebView2 Runtime
  • New Fixed Version Runtime for apps opting to bundle the runtime themselves

Also, with each major version Microsoft Edge Stable browser update, you can expect an updated WebView2 SDK with new APIs. Developers will have the choice to stay on older forward compatible SDKs, or adopt the new SDK for new WebView2 APIs. We will also continue having the “Pre-release” SDKs like today to gather developer feedback on experimental APIs.

With today’s GA release, our developer partners can also start releasing their WebView2 updates. Both the Office Add-Ins and Outlook teams have shared key product updates that build on top of WebView2, and we look forward to seeing their products roll out more broadly.  We also have some more exciting partnerships that we look forward to sharing over the next few months.

Outlook Web App and Outlook Desktop side-by-side showing the same Room Finder component.
Outlook Desktop (left) using WebView2 to re-use the Room Finder component from the Outlook Web App (right).

So, how do you get started? It’s easy – take a look at our documentation to learn more, or follow along with our getting started guides for Win32 C/C++, WinForms, WPF, and WinUI 3. We also have a handful of more comprehensive samples available and are always looking for feedback. Be sure to also subscribe to our announcements page to stay tuned on future WebView2 updates.

And with that, happy coding—we can’t wait to see what you build!

– Lindsay Kubasik, Principal PM Lead, Microsoft Edge
– Limin Zhu, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge