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Project Spartan will be a clean break from Internet Explorer 11

Renee Johnson
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Microsoft's upcoming Project Spartan browser and Internet Explorer 11 are now their own platforms, and never the twain shall meet again. At a developer workshop hosted at the company's Silicon Valley campus today, Microsoft said that Internet Explorer 11 will "[continue] to host the legacy engine exclusively," while Project Spartan "will host our new engine exclusively." The company's IE Blog explains the change thusly:

  • 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.
  • For Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 to be an effective solution for legacy scenarios and enterprise customers, it needs to behave consistently with Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Hosting our new engine in Internet Explorer 11 has compatibility implications that impact this promise and would have made the browser behave differently on Windows 10.
  • Feedback from Insiders and developers indicated that it wasn’t clear what the difference was between Project Spartan and Internet Explorer 11 from a web capabilities perspective, or what a developer would need to do to deliver web sites for one versus the other.

Prior to this change of plans, Microsoft intended for both browsers to use Spartan's new rendering engine, with a legacy fallback mode available in each one. This new strategy would seem to indicate that Internet Explorer is about to begin its long, slow ride into the sunset. We'll be leaving the champagne corked until we get our hands on a public build of Project Spartan, though.

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