A break from the past: the birth of Microsoft’s new web rendering engine

As we announced last month, Project Spartan will be the new browser across all Windows 10 devices, from phones to tablets, PCs and beyond. You’ll hear about the new browser’s features in the coming months but in this post, we want to tell you more about what motivated us to build a new rendering engine focused on interoperability with other modern browsers โ€• all in the name of making the Web “just work” for our customers. This new rendering engine was designed with Project Spartan in mind, but will also be available in Internet Explorer on Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy extensibility support.

Modernizing IE while not breaking the Web

Internet Explorer has been the Microsoft Web browser for 20 years and has evolved to work with ever-changing Web sites over that time. Since 2009, we’ve been systematically bringing major investments to the browser to modernize each of the browser subsystems: from fast new JavaScript and layout engines, GPU-accelerated rendering and 3D graphics, and multi-threaded touch input to improved F12 developer tools and backwards compatibility with Enterprise Mode.

Big changes in 5 years of IE
Big changes in 5 years: Fish IE (GPU rendering), Chakra fastest on SunSpider (JavaScript performance), Touch Effects (multi-touch input), new F12 developer tools, Assassin’s Creed Pirates (WebGL)

As we’ve been rolling out these significant changes with major versions of IE, we also did our best to abide by the mantra of “don’t break the Web.” This is an ambitious goal given that the Web consists of over 44 billion Web sites, so we prioritized compatibility testing on the Web’s top 9000 Web sites globally which accounts for roughly 88% of Web traffic. This represented the sweet spot of where the “head of the Web” becomes the “long tail” – allowing us to focus our testing resources on the most impactful sites. Prior to release, we would ensure a compatibility pass rate greater than previous releases of IE and our competitors on those top 9000 sites.

The long tail matters

And yet, even as we released new and improved versions of IE, we heard complaints about some sites being broken in IE – from family members, co-workers in other parts of Microsoft, or online discussions. As we examined these sites, they were often not on our top 9000 list. They were issues like not being able to complete a reservation online for the barbershop down the street, or not being able to log in to see the schedule for the local kids soccer league.

In Windows 10 planning, we set out to tackle this apparent discrepancy – how could our real-world compatibility be declining when our compatibility testing data shows that we are improving?

Rethinking our assumptions

As we dug in, we uncovered a series of issues that led us to realize that we needed to significantly rethink our approach to compatibility with the Web at large:

  • Legacy vs. modern. While we were pushing ahead with new HTML5 features, we were also expected to preserve compatibility with old versions of IE, particularly for enterprise Web apps. Limited compatibility was provided through document compatibility modes within Trident, however compatibility could not be guaranteed and it provided consistent obstacles towards fixing long-standing IE-specific behaviors. Furthermore, fixing long standing interoperability bugs with other modern browsers could actually break sites who have coded to the IE-specific behavior.
  • CV list. Our compatibility pass rates were dependent on the presence of the compatibility view list. This allowed us to “fix” broken sites by forcing them into old document modes which emulated legacy IE behaviors. However, this approach requires testing and maintenance, and doesn’t scale well beyond the top sites.
  • X-UA-Compatible. Some sites forced an older document mode using the “x-ua-compatible” header. However, rather than using it as a temporary stopgap, they would rely upon that to keep that version of the site working in future versions of IE while they developed an evergreen code path of their site for other modern browsers.
  • Standards focus. Our focus on building new HTML5 features was to comply with Web standards, which in turn should lead to interoperability among browsers. However, interpretations of the standards document could easily vary, leading to real-world interoperability gaps and ultimately more bug fixing for Web developers and more broken sites for customers.

Project Spartan engineers at work

A break from the past

Faced with these issues, we were inspired to have “courage in the face of reality”. We needed a plan to make it easy for Web developers to build compatible sites regardless of which browser they develop first for. We needed a plan which ensured that our customers have a good experience regardless of whether they browse the head or tail of the Web. We needed a plan which gave enterprise customers a highly backward compatible browser regardless of how quickly we pushed forward with modern HTML5 features.

In order to really address these challenges, we realized that we couldn’t just incrementally improve on our previous approach, we needed a break from the past – all without losing the major investments that we had been making since 2009.

A pragmatic approach

The break meant bringing up a new Web rendering engine, free from 20 years of Internet Explorer legacy, which has real-world interoperability with other modern browsers as its primary focus – and thus our rallying cry for Windows 10 became “the Web just works.” This pragmatic viewpoint, which was initially proven out by our work in Windows Phone 8.1 Update, meant that Web standards would continue to be important but should function in the background to drive real-world interoperability between browsers.

This interoperability-focused approach brought the obvious question of adopting an existing open-source rendering engine such as WebKit. While there were some advantages, upon further investigation it was not the right path forward for two important reasons. First, the Web is built on the principle of multiple independent, yet interoperable implementations of Web standards and we felt it was important to counter movement towards a monoculture on the Web. Second, given the engineering effort required, we found that we could deliver an interoperability focused engine to customers significantly faster if we started from our own engine (especially if unshackled from legacy compatibility concerns), rather than building up a new browser around an open-source engine. We will continue to look at open source and shared source models where it makes sense and look forward to sharing more details in coming posts.

A new Web rendering engine is born

As detailed in Jacob Rossi’s article for Smashing Magazine, the new engine began as a fork of MSHTML.dll but has since diverged very quickly. By making this split, we were able to keep the major subsystem investments made over the last several years, while allowing us to remove document modes and other legacy IE behaviors from the new engine. On the other hand, our legacy engine (MSHTML.dll) can remain largely unchanged (outside of security and other high priority fixes) to help guarantee legacy compatibility for our enterprise customers. We also built up capabilities to switch between the legacy and new rendering engines seamlessly.

A clean break also necessitates a new user-agent string to ensure that no IE-specific code was being sent. This built upon a long browser history of using whatever tokens are necessary to get the desired content from servers. Although this meant a lower compatibility rate initially, it was also useful to reveal interoperability issues that needed to be fixed!

Finally, since legacy IE code is no longer being sent, we are able to drastically reduce our reliance on the CV list. This means that our top site compatibility rate will match our long tail compatibility much more closely.

Fixing patterns instead of sites

However, a new engine was not enough – we also needed to significantly revamp how we find, track and fix issues on the long tail of the Web. To do so, we do daily analysis on trillions of URLs crawled in conjunction with Bing to detect patterns that exist in the head of the Web and the tail of the Web. By fixing these patterns, sites just end up working. This data is augmented by thousands of daily feedback reports from users via the “smiley face” icon.

In addition, we revised our internal engineering processes to prioritize real-world interoperability issues uncovered by our data analysis. With these processes in place, we set about fixing over 3000 interoperability bugs and adding over 40 new Web standards (to date) to make sure we deliver on our goals.

We don’t see this interoperability effort having an end date – we’ll be continuously checking the data and rolling out improvements to the new rendering engine. For users that upgrade to Windows 10, the engine will be evergreen, meaning that it will be kept current with Windows 10 as a service.

Project Spartan engineers at work

A community effort

Our mission to create a Web that “just works” won’t be successful without your help. That’s why the Project Spartan journey has included a number of ways for you to get involved. Here’s a quick rundown of ways you can help:

  • Join the Windows Insider Program to get the latest Windows 10 previews and test your Web sites on our new rendering engine by enabling experimental Web features in the about:flags page. If you don’t have a device to install it on, try out RemoteIE which will stream our latest browser from the Azure cloud to Windows, iOS or Android devices.
  • If you see any site issues, “Send a Frown” using the smiley icon so we can track it. If you have a more detailed description of the issue, you can open a bug on Connect.
  • Check out our Web platform roadmap at status.modern.ie. If anything is missing, submit a feature request or vote for an existing request at our UserVoice site.
  • Send us a message on Twitter @IEDevChat, or join a monthly #AskIE tweetchat (next one on 2/26 @ 12PM PST). For help on more detailed issues, ask a question on our StackOverflow page.

We believe the break from IE’s past we’ve made to create a new rendering engine will help make the browsing experience for our customers better, and make building Web sites that just work across browsers easier for Web developers. We’ll be sharing more details on specific aspects of the approach outlined above in the coming weeks and look forward to your continued participation in this journey with us.

Charles Morris, Program Manager Lead, Project Spartan

Comments (76)
  1. Steve says:

    This is awesome! Can we hope/expect that Microsoft will never again put non-standard stuff in the browser to maintain for years to come? E.g. No ActiveX, no XML Data Islands, no VML, no behaviours, no modal dialogs, no VBScript, no createPopup type crud ever again?

    We need to be sure that Microsoft has learned it's lesson and will strive to follow standards, not try to invent their own and attempt to strong arm the other browsers to follow suit.

  2. Gus says:

    @Steve – come on now, that is unfair, as ALL browser have always had their own slant on things, since day 1!!! IE5.5 was a revelation… XMLHttp requests which are now called AJAX and ubiquitous. IE6 was an amazing browser at the time hence why it lasted so long. Chrome, FF all have their own version of HTML5 and CSS3. I agree everything should be standardised but remember many of the innovations actually came from breaking the rules and end up being W3C recommendations etc.

  3. Fastidious says:

    @Gus, I do not see it as unfair. I do not believe Chrome and FF have "their own version of HTML5 and CSS3," but we are not talking about them, we are talking about what Spartan will become. @Steve has a point: do not repeat the same mistakes, or it will fail again.

  4. Smorgasbord says:

    > IE6 was an amazing browser at the time hence why it lasted so long.

    That's laughable – it lasted because it was just around on old computers.

  5. Fastidious says:

    @Gus, IE 6 *was not* an amazing browser. It was, like each IE, a browser bundled with Windows. It lasted that long because it took Microsoft that long to come up with something else, and companies invested much building applications on its proprietary architecture. It was, and is, a horrible browser.

  6. Yannick says:

    @Smorgasbord and @Fastidious – Yeah… no. That's not the reason. Internet Explorer 6 had only one competitor back in its days, and that was Netscape, and they just messed up. Netscape 6 was a piece of software the worls should never have seen. Internet Explorer 6 was a great browser for its time, and introduced an aweful lot of ideas we now call HTML5 and CSS3.

    Either way, keep up the good work! A question through: is Edge (or Spartan) coming to Windows 8.1, 7, Server 2008 R2, 2012 and 012 R2 7 for the people that don't/can't upgrade to Windows 10?

  7. Rob Cannon says:

    I think this is great work and a great plan.  BUT, I think if Microsoft is serious about supporting the evergreen browser, then Spartan needs to run on Windows 7, also.  While the Windows 10 upgrade will be free to consumers, many won't upgrade.  Businesses will be slower to upgrade, so that means it will be years before older versions of IE are no longer used.  Having Spartan on Windows 7 would really help spur the change to evergreen browsers for everyone.

  8. Jon says:

    @Fastidious @Smorgasbord

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Were you guys actually around and doing web development in 2001, when IE6 was released? The only major, competing browser was Netscape 4. Try downloading Netscape 4 and comparing the two. Mozilla 1.0 wasn't released until 2002, and Firefox 1.0 wasn't released until 2004.

    IE6 was by *far* the best freely-available browser that had ever been made *at that time*. Possibly Opera was better, but it still required payment back then, and Opera 7, with the Presto layout engine, wasn't released until 2003. In any case, IE6 was a huge leap forward in terms of stability and standards compliance. Of course, by modern standards it is a buggy piece of ***, but that was absolutely not the perception of the majority of developers and users in 2001. Saying otherwise is attempting to rewrite history.

    Furthermore, discussion of standards compliance misses the point that what passed as "standards" in the IE6 era were woefully incomplete. It was impossible to read the HTML and CSS specs and produce a interoperable implementation of either, because many topics around things like parsing and error handling were not covered, not covered in sufficient detail, or did not match the reality of what existing browsers did (and what web sites *relied* on them doing). It has taken many years of effort by the WHATWG, W3C and other groups to produce specifications and test suites detailed and accurate enough that it is possible to make browsers that meaningfully standards compliant and interoperable.

  9. Paul says:

    I notice many LGBT websites don't seem to like older versions of IE and IE in the Windows 10 Preview. Sites like Out.com, Advocate.com, Queerty.com and many others don't load or crash or are just very slow on IE.

  10. scunliffe says:

    @editor the "10am EST" value of your dev chat on Twitter is off by 2 hours… thus those that started at 10am (me) were posting tweets to "dev/null" ๐Ÿ™

  11. Brian LePore says:


    The growing list of sites that are Chrome-specific has definitely shown me that they have their own version of HTML5 and CSS3. Heck, when Google Inbox first launched it only worked in Chrome. You were rejected if you tried to log in with Firefox.

    In regards to IE6, it was a very good browser for its time. But it did have bugs that needed to be patched that just went unpatched for years because IE had no true competition and the development team was basically shut down and members moved to other projects. I believe they just addressed security issues for a number of years.

  12. Brian says:

    Death to IE forever.  You guys should have done this sh!t long ago.  How many hours have developers had to spend getting around incredibly frustrating IE crap?  Don't act like starting fresh will erase your past transgressions, Microsoft.

    The developer community may eventually embrace you, but your sh!tty browsers from the past won't soon be forgotten, even if your new browser is better than Chrome, FF, and Safari combined.

    You should just stop making browsers all-together; seriously.

  13. jason patrick hall says:

    A concept Microsoft will initialize is project Spartan, into windows 10 devices, such as phones, tablets, PC's (and beyond). I have used Microsoft internet explorer and network navigator for twenty years now, its a pleasant feeling Microsoft has been transitioning their browser subsystems like JavaScript to splitting-GPU into faster processing speeds, as well as my personal favorite 2 & 3 Dimensional graphics ending competition while providing definitive sources for expansion and innovative technology. By transitioning IE with an ambitious (or determined) goal of "do not Break the web" in mind, we have to remember the web consist of roughly fourty-four billion different websites. So it was a smart move to focus testing on nine-thousand of the most impactful sites around the globe. This will put us ahead of our competitors. When initializing upgraded software like IE will bring some technicalities, maybe people with smaller privately owned sites and engines might not be able to access customer support or contact with another user online. But we as people have to (for generations to come) make significant advances to stay ahead and provide meaningful progress. It's tough when dealing with statistics in an annual report for instance, or translating economic into technology. You've got to figure or predict a point where supply meets demand, scientifically, not an easy target. Rethinking pros & cons or comparing and contrasting differences that might arise between legacy & modern might have glitches, something I'm unaware if Microsoft has room for. In the report it states significant rethinking came forth about the enterprise web applications, so it becomes a question of just how compatible this browser should become, by troubleshooting and repairing older perhaps reliable accounts might have an adverse "breaking effect" on the regular IE users. So it becomes a technical throwback question of business ethics, morals, & conditions. Might take some brainstorming. The CV compatibility viewing list would allow a number of "broken" legacy sites to be fixed and able to use. The X-UA-compatible version where users used older document programs as a stopgap, meaning they are avid user of IE while sticking to what worked for them in the past as well could be considered an investment or a smarter means of using Spartan or windows 10. This would be a time to focus on pie charts, percentages, averages, division which encompasses real-world remainders. Faced with the challenge of making IE a positive or optimistic experience for its users, ideally your faced with integrating tools and task-management, basically an infrastructure used in the past and adding a definitive newer concept that will also have its own need to stay with the times in the future. So by bringing a web browser that meets our current needs as well as incorporating older technology while staying true to our investors and counterparts. It's pretty safe to say Microsoft has held on to its values and mission statement.

  14. nobody says:

    Netscape 4.x was pretty bad but a lot of us held onto it for a long time while we waited for Mozilla to get its act together. On Windows Mozilla was not very usable as I recall until Firefox. However a lot of us using Linux tried various forks designed to get Gecko in shape. In 2001 or 2002 I was using galeon which was gecko with gnome/gtk+. Then phoenix came along and then it was renamed to Firefox and I used it a lot before it hit 1.0. But I don't think it was common to do that on Windows.

  15. Mike Herchel says:

    Please, please, please enable spartan on Windows 7. Pretty please!

  16. Pragmatic Engineer says:

    Could just have used WebKit…

  17. Yannick says:

    @Pragmatic engineer – Because f*ck web standards, right? Webkit is becoming a terrible engine, and it should be clear to everybody that Apple has no intention improving it, unless it fits their agenda. And Blink isn't any better. Not every browser should be using the same rendering engine, because that would throw us back 15 years where 1 way of doing something is the only way. Remember, the IE monopoly? Well, now we have a Webkit monopoly, and it gives us the same result: crappy websites that follow Webkit-standards instead of web standards.

  18. Rinse and Repeat says:

    So they forked it and then worked backwards to remove their existing features… doesn't sound like they're doing anything new to me. It'd have been more ideal to make a better tool on top of an existing api and improve api if you have better ideas.

    color me, not surprised.

  19. Same Old MS says:

    "A community effort" Until you open source your rendering engine and let users submit bugs and patches, EdgeHTML will not be "A community effort". Take a look at other leading rendering engines like WebKit, Blink, Gecko and more. They all are open source and they all support web standards faster than MS! Also, even if Windows 10 is going to be free for 7 & 8.1, some users may not want to switch. Spartan/EdgeHTML needs to be on Windows 7!!! You really expect people to UPDATE their entire OS, a risky operation just for a new web browser? Windows 10 is not a service pack, its a entire new OS that changes the UI and introduces driver and application incompatibility.

  20. @ scunliffe – I'm very sorry for the mistake here. We updated the post to fix this. Shoot me a message @kylealden if you have any questions we weren't able to get to and I'll make sure we get you a response.

  21. Eli says:

    multi-threaded touch input?  Each finger gets a thread?

  22. Alexander says:

    All the people in the photos look amazingly unhappy and discontent. Is this the norm at Microsoft?

  23. Ivan Privaci says:

    It seems like Microsoft is finally becoming IBM (in a good way, i.e. a "mature" company more willing to work with standards) while Apple is the one now busy trying to become Microsoft (abusively proprietary).

    It's far from the only bit of standard interoperability to be addressed, but there's just one that I personally will be watching for as an indication of how much better Microsoft is getting at Playing Well With Others:

    Give me .opus files in <audio> tags working on Microsoft's browser(s). (ideally, also .ogg [vorbis] for legacy purposes, and possibly even .flac for locally-stored data or fast streams, but .opus alone would be great all by itself).

    I saw Microsoft was adding support for the Microsoft superset(?) of WebRTC already, just add a parser for OGG containers and effectively 90% of the web (i.e. everyone but Apple Safari) will have a standard high-quality audio format to use. (Add it to the Windows Media framework as well for local playback too, of course…)

  24. john henry says:

    hope it will work

  25. justadeveloper says:

    It's great to see open discussions about IE's product directions. Rock on!

  26. tobias buschor says:

    I really hope it will work on older versions of windows and will be auto-updated.

    Otherwise, we webdeveloper have to wait 10 years to use the new stuff!

    Dont repeat the old, bad story of internet-explorer versions ๐Ÿ™

  27. Bruce Williams says:

    @Eli re: "multi-threaded touch input", on the chance that you weren't joking, I'm pretty sure this means that the touch input, and perhaps some simple actions like scrolling, are driven on a different thread than the render thread, or the javascript thread, or something. The result is that each of those things (input/render/javascript/whatever) can hiccup or block, but the rest can continue and hopefully maintain the appearance of responsiveness.

  28. arizdev says:

    I am beginning to contribute to WebKit, it is not a terrible engine by any standard, however there are a lot of politics. MS made the right choice to go forward on their own technology (as any mature company should).

    Regarding older browsers, at our company we are already at IE9 base support, as soon as that's over, we will be skipping IE10 to IE11, where I will rejoice.  Three years from now, we will probably be only supporting browsers released in the last 18 months. Microsoft has converted me from a vile critic to enthusiast, I embrace your platform with open arms. Long live the new Microsoft.

  29. Joe Raby says:

    Tell me you're going to do something to try and kill off bad browser toolbars and BHO's.  This is a constant problem and new versions of Windows don't really have security mechanisms in place to deal with them.  Instead, users have to rely on their antimalware software to tell them if something will hijack their browser, and even Microsoft's own antimalware engine lacks detection routines for it.  Currently, only specialized antimalware software like MalwareBytes Antimalware detects software from companies like Conduit and Mindspark as malware.  Microsoft needs to step up.  Heck, if they licensed definitions from MalwareBytes, OR JUST BOUGHT THE COMPANY, it would make Windows a seriously-secure operating system.  Right now, I see users ON A DAILY BASIS with umpteen fake PC cleanup software programs that install additional adware and hijack their browser – even on Windows 8.1.

    I always felt that Modern IE was safer BECAUSE it didn't support third-party extensibility via toolbars and BHO's.  What is Microsoft doing to make this a better experience with Spartan?

  30. Annoyed says:

    "Modernizing IE while not breaking the Web" IE has been breaking everyone else's web for a decade. XDomainRequest alone should be enough for a formal apology from Microsoft. Let's hope the future features a MS web browser void of opinions and interpretations of web standards that screw everyone else over.

  31. WTFBrowser says:

    …what is the point to have a proprietary rendering engine? Don't they give it away for free anyway..? Woudn't it make sense open-sourcing it to make it better..?

  32. Mozillian says:

    No mention of Geeko once again and can I remind Microsoft that it was you who tried to force a monoculture on the web your browser has never been best standards and at 8% and losing nothing can save you now…

  33. Luka says:

    Is Windows 10 going to ship IE11 along with Spartan or just Spartan?

  34. Xavier says:

    Mozillian, all of Mozilla's projects are irrelevant today, including Firefox.

    Look at these recent browser usage stats: caniuse.com/usage_table.php

    As of January of this year, Firefox on the Desktop only has around 10% of the market. Firefox on Android has a whopping 0.13%! Firefox on iOS doesn't even exist!

    Chrome for Android alone has just about as many users as Firefox does on all platforms and for all versions!

    IE 11 alone almost has more users than Firefox has in total!

    Firefox is pretty much a dead project at this point. People are leaving it for browsers that actually work.

    We're living in a world where only two browsers really matter: Chrome and IE.

    Firefox is irrelevant. Mozilla is irrelevant.

  35. Whisky Tango Foxtrot says:

    @Joe Raby

    Tell me you're going to do something to try and kill off bad browser toolbars and BHO's. ++++

    iegallery.com is woeful. It needs a makeover to encourage extension developers to certify and deploy their product with it instead of through the Add-ware model (eg. Flash updates).

    please turn "enable third-party browser extensions" OFF by default for the sake of Bob and Betty users and the sanity of MS support staff.

    answers.ms is dominated by Addon caused issues.

  36. advanda says:

    payripo.com This is much better addon

  37. webdev says:

    I like this new direction Microsoft. Stay on course. Web standards to the max.

    By the way for those saying Mozilla is irrelevant I disagree. Much better UI than Chrome although I do use Chrome. The main reason I like firefox is as a web development tool. None of the copy cat tools whether the one in IE or Chrome match firebug. I also hope MS is willing to open up easy built in compatibility for popular languages and platforms like ruby on rails or python django even if they arent in the .NET hemisphere.

  38. NSA says:

    Will it get PRISM for free?

  39. I code in comments says:

    "Community effort", haha, nice one.

    BTW, I hope you fix the starting page to get a real browser faster.

  40. NumbStill says:

    @Joe Raby, Whisky Tango Foxtrot –

    I believe Microsoft stated that only Internet Explorer will continue to support ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects and other legacy extensibility methods.

    Project Spartan will not support those. Instead, Microsoft is looking into a web based extensibility model (HTML, JavaScript and CSS, just like Chrome and (the last iteration of) Firefox extensions).

  41. Layinka says:

    Seeing that activex became AJAX, i think its unfair to say IE put non standard things in browser.We wont have had all this plenty features to play with now

  42. Abhinaba says:

    Microsoft is finally waking up … ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. A-man says:

    Satan+PR… Spartan

  44. Untangled says:

    "..we felt it was important to counter movement towards a monoculture on the Web."

    Seriously? Pot? Kettle?!

  45. Asbjørn says:

    Spartan looks great – can't wait to try it (do we get a new build today ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Already, the EdgeHTML engine feels great in build 9926 – although there are compatibility issues still.

    While I understand why the Spartan browser itself is a Windows 10 exclusive, since it uses all kinds of Windows 10 specific features.

    However, the EdgeHTML engine does not need to be a Windows 10 exclusive. To really move the web forward, you need EdgeHTML on Windows 7. The best thing would probably be to just reuse the IE11 UI, and just import the engine switching from Windows 10, so that it can use both MSHTML and EdgeHTML.

  46. JF says:

    Looking forward for a blog post detailing how the improvements made to Spartan will translate to mobile devices such as phones and tablets. The mobile IE experience, even with the latest update, is still quite terrible for many websites. Admittedly, the small marketshare of Windows Phone likely contributes greatly to this situation. I'd be interested to know how you plan to address this.

  47. JF says:

    Also, I agree with a previous comment: absolutely in no circumstance should the new browser allow third party "toolbars". Those of us maintaining our parents' computers thank you.

  48. Brent says:

    I am really hoping you will support the picture element in Spartan. Please do! Chrome and Opera already do and Firefox will in ~12 weeks when it releases version 38. Microsoft needs to get on board with this!

  49. Mark says:

    I feel sorry for the developers. Based on some of the comments in here, Spartan could be completely FOSS, come with a puppy and cure cancer, but people still wouldn't like it based on Microsoft's browser antics YEARS ago. I wonder even if anyone working on Spartan was working on IE back then?

  50. john says:

    I have a new web app.  Works fine in FF and Chrome and IE11 sort of fine.  For IE 8 and IE 9 sort og awful.

    IE is a pain.  People say of FF and Chrome also have non standard features.  Maybe they do yet somehow they are both able to render web pages in a similar manner.

    I would like it if Sparta supported server side events.  IE doesn't.  They have a dismal event mechanism they want you to use or you can use web sockets.

  51. Slim says:

    Come on all you negative folks – move forward like the IE team are.

  52. Mario Affonso says:

    IE is the best browser…. to use once to download a real browser.

  53. Anti Troll says:

    There is a link to the game Assassin's Creed.. 2 things:

    1. it doesn't work (check your console)

    2. the image is skewed

    If this is what we have to look forward to from Microsoft, no thank you

  54. Miguel Mota says:

    if (browser.name === "Internet Explorer") {

     computer.download("Google Chrome");


  55. Realdeveloper says:

    Good to know that IE is making progress. While i hate Webkit because of vendor prefixes and firefox to do  not have well implemented CSS  and javascript animations,i also appreciate the way they add features.

    IE10+ handles way way better css animations than the competition,but still lags behind in terms of features.

    i(we) just hope that all the requested features get supported before windows 10 completion.

  56. George says:

    Simply stated, not maintaining the millions of lines of c/c++/com based IE code will be a great benefit to Microsoft.    It's a good time to obsolete the thousands of internal corporate IE specific web applications.

  57. George says:

    Com dead, … well on its way…

    ActiveX dead,

    c based DLLs / APIs from MS declining….

    all good

  58. Human being says:

    Like others suggested; what matters is if you open source the code and start contributing, your efforts will yield fruits many times more and the new rendering engine will be robust than anything out there.

    Come on GitHub and bring your code with you. We are waiting for IE (<3) !!! We are waiting for something comparable to v8, i.e. Chakra. Who knows there emerge more projects like node.js based on Chakra, given its compliance with standard matches to (and in some areas even better than) v8. Give it a try! Look at the pace of contributions on io.js repository. In 2 months they released 4 significant versions (today they are at v1.4.1)! It will be a big leap towards the betterment of Web and mankind, if IE just jump on GitHub!

    It is already 2015! Do not drag it further.

    Best Wishes.

    ~ Some citizen from GitHub world.

  59. Extend and extinguish once more? says:

    Take your new browser and shove it.

  60. gilstrac says:

    In my experience, it is always easier to write software when you can forget about legacy compatibility.  

  61. patricia Weissleader says:

    i am a woman of almost 70 who had been using computers and the internet for 20 years. at first i could crash anything, and now i can fix almost anything,  i was never so daring to use OS other than windows, but i would buy 2 or 3 of everything, such as thinkpad models, so that as they wore out i had the back up and one for parts so i did not have to make changes to more recent hardware and software until i was good and ready. i got refurbished printers, 2 or 3 at a time, based on the ease of refilling the ink cartridges.  when one dies i ove the ink to the next one and keep printing.  when they all die i find the next model by the same criter9a, and the old ones are great for putting under a raided porch where dogs thought they were going to dig out. just try to dig under an old HP all in one! i learned early on that using IE browser was the kiss of death, things kept changing that did not need to be changed, primarily to take care of bugs.  and using Juno desktop email that until recently i could download mail to the desk going through dedicated servers and not through the web,  i never got viruses, etc for over a decade.  

    it was always clear to me that there Microsoft had far too many security fixes, and made it expensive to change OS's, while making it difficult not to. starting again clean is a great idea, and i hope you keep it clean.

    please remember that some of us do not like our browsers to change. a new look with buttons going some place else is not a good thing, there should always be an option to keep the look and where things are the same as they always were.  microsoft is not the only one to do that. i had to run juno through thunderbird to cut sown the viagra spam that i had to endure since all the email seems to go thorugh the internet these days.  it took me weeks to figure out where the address book was, and it took google to figure it out.

    i am having trouble with tirefox now, because i am using a netbook, and if i get the down ot 3 browser toolbars, they put in a blank fourth to make sure i can never see the whole video on youtube-even downloading 'cojpact' options, toobarks take up a fifth of the screen height, and i put the start bar from the bottom up the right side, and the add on that replaces the menu bar with a button doesnt work.

    in 2015 i spend more than half of my time on line, trying to get the browser to work easily.  in the ld days when i got used to a program it was easy to use for years.  

    if what you do with this 'clean' start brings back the simplicity of use and allows some of us to not have to endure changes for the sake of changing things,  bless you. but i am not holding my breath.

  62. Mark says:

    A step in the right direction, but if this is going to benefit customers and developers I think Microsoft should:

    * Open-source it on GitHub.

    * Make it operating system agnostic.

    * Make regular (automatic) updates to keep it evergreen and standards compliant.

    Not doing the above, from past experience, leads to customers (especially corporate ones) being locked into a specific version of IE and developers having to do IE-specific workarounds.  If you look at any popular JS framework, there's a fair chance that you'll see a number of IE-specific hacks to workaround weird and not so wonderful quirks.

  63. Yannick says:

    @Mark – If you look at any popular JS framework, there's a fair chance that you'll see a number of IE-specific hacks to workaround weird and not so wonderful quirks.

    Ok, let's take a look a jQuery 2.1. What do we see there? An aweful lot of Webkit and Blink hacks, every now and then a Firefox and IE hack. Heck, the most recent version was nicknamed "Safari failsave edition". What where you saying?

  64. elixir2 says:

    That article reads like an embellished resume. Leaves a bad taste.

    -sez the "long tail"

  65. sarge says:

    What about API for plugins/extensions in the new IE?

    Is there plans to make a good API and a site for third party extensions?

    Both FF and Google Chrome have a good API for extensions, but IE does not.

  66. Chris Marisic says:

    Never. ever. ever. do compatibility mode again. That feature is the bane of existence of web developers. Having to consider browsers that were almost IE-# but not quite. This was the worst choice ever done by Microsoft for the web, you should've just let things break. Companies would have been forced to fix their broken by design applications for their users, as they should be forced.

    You as a web provider do not get to dictate your clients' environments. The only requirement must be a secure web browser which by definition means a fully updated web browser.

  67. Nasser says:

    @Chris, you will not feel the importance of compatibility mode if you don't live in Enterprise. Microsoft is serving millions of enterprise customer and it can't just ask them to ditch their legacy Apps and internal web-based system to adopt new standards. That is why IE will live to serve the backward compatibility.

  68. JS says:

    Microsoft, please don't forget to test your own applications. I'd love in the future, if I could tell management that both their legacy SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2013/Online will work in one IE, in Windows 7, using the same 'mode', and same rendering engine. It means Microsoft themselves, also need to fix their own applications too, as oposed to just tellign us end users, as a bandaid, to '…just run it in Enterprise or Edge mode' versus, them fixing their apps/platforms to run in the newest standards compliant browser, or telling clients they need to overhaul and upgrade their entire infrastructure.

    I hope Microsoft do not forget their own backyard, when it comes to compatibility testing with their future browsers. For example, many large corporations are still using SharePoint 2007. SharePoint 2007 only fully works in IE 7-9, because of it's heavy reliance on Active X. SharePoint 2007 will not run in 'Edge' mode in IE11, only in 'Enterprise'(backward compatible) mode. SharePoint 2013/Online requires a modern standards browser or 'Edge' mode in IE11, for HTML5 rendering, however, it still has some functionaility that requires Active X, which means it can still only fully function using IE only. This means corporations still have to support legacy applications and still have modern standards browsers. It is a daunting task from a development standpoint when we as 'citizen developers' are left to develop for multiple Microsoft software/plaforms and use only one corporately accepted browser. Corporations are then telling us developers to make our applications browser agnostic, it becomes very difficult when debating the pros/cons of doing so, to the upper management with no real understanding of the underlying rendering engine nuances, and Microsoft's various software reliances on other Microsoft technologies (IE (modes), Active X, OS browser restrictions, version of Microsoft Office, Microsoft's slow implementaiton of Web Standards (HTML5, CSS3, ECMCA 5 and 6, proprietary extensions/APIs, etc).

  69. David says:

    Oh no, IE blog comments section devolving into the same tired old criticisms =(

    Those random critiques about hacks apply to every browser equally now – I might almost say less so for modern IE. My own website, I was pretty frustrated to find that Chrome still doesn't support the "animation" CSS attribute. They let you specify it with prefixes, but Microsoft has detailed a pretty good case as to why all web developers need to stop using those.

  70. Matthew Whited says:

    Funny how the websites that seem to be broken in IE were mostly written by people using Chrome specific features.

  71. I think you should name the new browser:  "Spartacus"

  72. Sam Scrum says:

    Does anybody really use a clear glass taskboard?  Like in the movies people writing on clear glass whiteboards. I have yet to see it.

  73. ใจใ“ใ‚ใง says:


    Windows 10ใŒไปŠๅค็™บๅฃฒใจใ„ใ†ๆƒ…ๅ ฑใ‚’่ฆ‹ใพใ—ใŸใ€‚



  74. When digital signature from dongle fails to read from sites listed at startpage.com/…/search your browser has failed miserably. ๐Ÿ˜€

  75. Edwin Harinarine Oudit says:

    I think it will be great browser and a nice name; the second league of things coming down!!!

  76. Eli the Developer says:

    The Best thing IE team can do is pay each developer that struggled countless hours to make things (halfway) working, The management didn't change, the old stubborn attitude didn't change either, Microsoft is like the "chains" that hold on to a f22 with full engine thrust and not letting it take off.. (the web is the f22)

    Look at status.modern.ie and you will see tons of things "under consideration". what consideration??  while each browser is way ahead you are still considering?? Just close your shop and stop making browsers!!!

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