This is Spartan and What We don’t Know yet about Microsoft’s New Browser

The ability to gracefully adapt to different devices sounds handy … but I sure hope this doesn’t spell the impending end of IE support; I need those advanced features!

Microsoft revealed two days ago that it will integrate Project Spartan, a new web browser, in its upcoming Windows 10 operating system that is expected to ship later this year. According to Microsoft, Spartan has been designed for Windows 10 with interoperability in mind. The main idea behind the project was to create a browser that would run well on all device types Windows 10 would run on.

If you have followed the presentation you know that Microsoft plans to run its operating system on a wide range of devices including desktop PCs, mobile devices, tablets, large 84-inch displays and even the company’s Xbox One gaming system.

The browser has been designed by Microsoft to adjust to the available screen or window space. The following images show it in action on a desktop system and mobile device.

microsoft spartan browser

As you can see on the image above, Microsoft has done away with the title bar completely. Tabs are now listed at the top (instead of the side of the address bar), and the status bar has been removed completely.

If you run Spartan on a mobile device, it is adjusted automatically to the available screen size as you can see on the screenshot below.

spartan mobile

Spartan will use the new rendering engine EdgeHTML by default but will have access to the legacy rendering engine used in Internet Explorer 11 and earlier as well but in a limited fashion.

Legacy support has been integrated to make sure that enterprises can load ActiveX controls and Browser Helper Objects in their environments using the browser. Spartan does not support support legacy Internet Explorer behaviors such as document modes, and for that reason, Internet Explorer ships with Windows 10 as well to make sure enterprise users can still access these contents on the operating system.

Spartan has been designed with interoperability in mind and Windows 10 users will notice that it supports a variety of new technologies, such as HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) or HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) when it comes out.

Project Spartan Questions

The reveal of Project Spartan shed some light on the company’s new default web browser but Microsoft did not reveal all information yet that are important to users.

Here is a short list of questions that the company did not answer yet:

  • Is Project Spartan a Windows 10 exclusive or will it be made available for other operating systems as well. My take: Windows 10 only is likely.
  • Will the browser support Chrome extensions or its own extensions system? My take: It is likely that it will support some form of extension system.
  • Are plugins supported by Spartan? My take: I don’t think that this will be the case.
  • How does it compare in regards to cpu/memory usage to IE and other browsers?

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