Spartan Days

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This week the minds in Redmond have decided to add to the flood of information that has been steady this month.

So after Mobile World Congress, GDC, and a renewed WinHEC the Internet Explorer team decided they needed to do something too.

Yesterday the IE team held a Developer Workshop at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus on Spartan for select developers, enterprises, and web tool makers. Like similar Windows 10 events the workshop provided an early look at Project Spartan. The event was a surprise and not live streamed so news trickled out through the usual Twitter stream.

The developer workshop coincided with news that Adobe was contributing to Spartan. Adobe is contributing assets in CSS gradients and an upcoming CSS image specification from the W3C (the web standards body). Adobe is part of a larger initiative to include more web developers and tool makers in constructing Spartan; it may even foreshadow Project Spartan being open sourced.

Another bit of information disclosed by Spartan’s project manager Kyle Pflug was a shifting policy on Spartan and IE.

With Windows 10 Microsoft will deliver two browsers, IE11 and Project Spartan. Originally both browsers would run a combination of Spartan Edge engine and IE’s Trident engine with the later only used when accessing legacy sites (sites built using old web technologies). The goal was to make the transition easier on businesses and users who needed legacy support but the matter muddied the waters.

That is until now.

Now Microsoft is drawing a line between Internet Explorer and Spartan. Starting now Spartan will run the Edge engine and IE11 will run unchanged to maintain commonality across Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. According to Pflug the reason for the separation was user and developer confusion and the need to make a truly forward facing browser.

The move simplifies the issue but it’s risky. Pulling out the legacy support from Spartan makes it easier for companies to hang onto IE (and older version of Windows). But the move also signifies that Spartan will be the future Microsoft browser going forward

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