Project Spartan and the Windows 10 January Preview Build

This week, Microsoft revealed substantial parts of the upcoming Windows 10. There’s a lot to make sense of, but one thing I was watching for was news of the new version of Internet Explorer. It was confirmed that it is happening, and we got some details yesterday from the IE Team blog.

In brief:

  • IE vNext will ship with Windows 10
  • Currently code-named Project Spartan
  • Will be all new, with a new rendering engine
    • To be the default in Spartan, Internet Explorer, and Windows 10
  • Will fall back to the older rendering engine for legacy websites
  • Built to be universal, so will work across Windows 10 devices – phone, tablet, laptop etc.
  • Includes support for annotating webpages, distraction-free reading, and Cortana integration
  • “Classic” Internet Explorer will also be updated and included in Windows 10 for compatibility
    • Will also use the same dual engine setup as Spartan

Powered by a new rendering engine, Spartan is designed for interoperability with the modern web. We’ve deliberately moved away from the versioned document modes historically used in Internet Explorer, and now use the same markup as other modern browsers. Spartan’s new rendering engine is designed to work with the way the web is written today.

What I like to hear. This is the way forward. I’m hopeful that Spartan will be decoupled from Windows so it can be updated more frequently than Internet Explorer.

Another tidbit via Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet:

“The Spartan rendering engine (edgehtml.dll) is a new component and separate from Trident (mshtml.dll). The new engine began as a fork of Trident, but has since diverged rapidly over the past many months, similar to how several other browser engines have started as forks prior to diverging. The new rendering engine is also being built with a very different set of principles than Trident – for example: a focus on interoperability and the removal of document modes.”

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