Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/microsoft-spartan-future-internet-explorer/
Following several months of rumors, Microsoft officially revealed Project Spartan — their new web browser — on January 21, 2015. Spartan is the reason the Internet Explorer team went quiet during the past fifteen months after IE11 was released.
Spartan started life as a fork of IE’s Trident engine but has evolved significantly. Baggage such as versioned document modes, VBScript and ActiveX have been removed, while new HTML5 features have been added to create a lighter, sleeker, more advanced browser. Spartan’s engine, edgehtml.dll, is designed for interoperability and will be the default browser on Windows 10.
IE11’s engine, mshtml.dll, will remain on the OS for compatibility reasons. It will be hidden from most users but available to enterprises should they require it for legacy applications or websites requesting one of IE’s many version modes or quirks rendering.
Microsoft is unlikely to release Spartan for older versions of the OS, but Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for anyone using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 during the first year of release. That should help it achieve critical mass relatively quickly.
Internet Explorer is the oldest surviving mainstream browser with a 20-year history. The early days were good and IE matured into the best, most standards-compliant application at the time.
Then IE6 lay dormant for half a decade. IE7 was a rushed abomination. IE8 improved but failed to adopt the newest standards when other vendors had started to move to HTML5. By the end of last decade, Internet Explorer attracted derisory venom from even the most placid web developers.
IE9 was released in 2011 and showed potential. By IE10, Microsoft had a fast, capable browser that improved further in IE11. IE could finally compete on a reasonably level playing ground.
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