The New Features That Made Microsoft Scrap IE In Favour Of Project Spartan
Internet Explorer, the native web browser on Windows computers, was first made available to users in 1995, but after 20 years of service Microsoft has turned its attention to new browser code named Project Spartan. Project Spartan will have more user friendly features and offer competition for Firefox and Safari. Although Internet Explorer has fallen out of favour in the last few years, it is often the most convenient browser of choice for Windows users who are not technologically savvy, so the switch over may take some getting used to for some.
Project Spartan will be built in to all new Windows 10 computers and IE will ship with the new operating system too but will remain unchanged from Windows 8.1. Spartan will use Microsoft’s new rendering engine exclusively, leaving Internet Explorer to fall into incompatibility.
Originally, both of Windows’ browsers were to use the new rendering engine, with legacy engines being used to enable backwards compatibility, however Internet Explorer will now remain relatively unchanged in order to operate the same as on previous versions of Windows. Microsoft have said that Spartan is on track to be ‘highly compatible with the modern web’, with a modern architecture and service model that means it doesn’t require the legacy engine and should provide new opportunities for developers.
Going forward, Internet Explorer will no longer continue to work properly with many websites, and Microsoft is likely to phase out the web browser all together as they move into the future beyond Windows 10. The role of Internet Explorer in Windows 10 will be to help with compatibility issues and for the use of large enterprises which may rely on previous technology.
Project Spartan has a simple user interface and is lightweight, meaning users can interact with the web without distractions and shouldn’t have problems with the browser slowing down their system while in use. Spartan includes the ability to create new tabs and windows but one of the most interesting features for those who will use Spartan for work is the ability to collaborate with others by clicking directly on a webpage to comment and use mouse or stylus created drawings to markup the page.
For home and personal users there are also a number of new features in Spartan created to make browsing easier, for instance the reading mode which will download articles to the reading list so that you can read them offline later.
Inbuilt Cortana, Windows’ new personal and search assistant, will provide relevant information learned from your browsing habits. Cortana will also be able to define words that the user doesn’t understand, offer information about the current website plus provide directions and weather information. Cortana will be accessible from an icon in the address bar or by using the ‘Ask Cortana’ feature and information will slide out on a right-handed sidebar.
Microsoft has partnered up with Adobe, a first for its closed source web browsers, and the Adobe team has contributed to the new Spartan project. This means that users and developers will be able to make use of new features for both browsing and web development.
Adobe have so far contributed to the way Spartan handles CSS (cascading style sheets), allowing it to overlap and amalgamate graphics in new and interesting ways. They may also be looking at new ways to improve the web without Flash, the browser plug-in that relays animations and videos across the web, as Flash is unlikely to be available on mobile devices soon.
Spartan will make it easier to support new web standards as Microsoft has removed some of the older technology that can still be found in Internet Explorer. In addition, the browser is designed to work seamlessly on both the desktop and mobile devices. However it’s worth noting that Project Spartan is a codename and Microsoft have confirmed that the browser is unlikely to be called Spartan on its launch.
Project Spartan is not currently available to Windows Insiders, the consumer testers for Windows 10, but is expected to be included in the next beta update of the operating system this April before Windows 10 becomes available to all in the summer.