MICROSOFT HAS BEEN meeting and greeting developers at its Silicon Valley campus to talk team tactics for the new browser that will debut in Windows 10.
Project Spartan was confirmed at the consumer launch of Windows 10 earlier in the year, but its official name and full details are still emerging.
However, it was confirmed last week that Spartan represented the end of the line for Internet Explorer (IE) as a brand.
As with the operating system itself, Spartan is the result of collaboration with the community, although a public preview has not yet been forthcoming.
A new rendering engine was to power Spartan and IE 11, which would have given both browsers the ability to "fall back" on the old engine if they run into trouble.
But it has now been decided that there will be a new engine for Spartan, an old engine for IE 11 and never the twain shall meet.
Microsoft has clearly tried to learn its lessons from the great Vista driver debacle, but the feedback from users was that consistency and legacy were more important, and that there wasn't a clear purpose to Spartan if both browsers did both.
But, more importantly, the more IE 11 is fiddled with, the more likely there are to be problems for sites and add-ons built for previous editions of Windows. And that is exactly the sort of thing that will make heritage Windows users run away screaming.
This is quite a big step in Microsoft's "personal growth" as a company. It tried something, users reacted, it changed. A far cry from the "You must have misunderstood your question" attitude under Steve Ballmer.
Kyle Pflug, programme manager for Project Spartan, explained, "Project Spartan was built for the next generation of the web, taking the unique opportunity provided by Windows 10 to build a browser with a modern architecture and service model for Windows-as-a-Service.
"This clean separation of legacy and new will enable us to deliver on that promise. Our testing with Project Spartan has shown that it is on track to be highly compatible with the modern web, which means the legacy engine isn’t needed for compatibility."
Project Spartan is just one aspect of the new Windows operating system that will try to undo some of the damage caused by Windows 8, which has not caught on with consumers and especially enterprises. Windows 7 and XP still retain over three quarters of the market.
Windows 10 is set to be a more familiar affair, taking more of the desktop feel of Windows 7 and adding some of the better received parts of Windows 8.
Also aboard will be the Cortana personal assistant and the company's universal app strategy, which will allow a single program to run across form factors from Xbox One down to phones. µ
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