Partnering with Adobe on new contributions to our web platform

In recent releases, we’ve talked often about our goal to bring the team and technologies behind our web platform closer to the community of developers and other vendors who are also working to move the Web forward. This has been a driving motivation behind our emphasis on providing better developer tools, resources for cross-browser testing, and more ways than ever to interact with the “Project Spartan” team.

In the same spirit of openness, we’ve been making changes internally to allow other major Web entities to contribute to the growth of our platform, as well as to allow our team to give back to the Web. In the coming months we’ll be sharing some of these stories, beginning with today’s look at how Adobe’s Web Platform Team has helped us make key improvements for a more expressive Web experience in Windows 10.

Adobe is a major contributor to open source browser engines such as WebKit, Blink, and Gecko. In the past, it was challenging for them (or anyone external to Microsoft) to make contributions to the Internet Explorer code base. As a result, as Adobe improved the Web platform in other browsers, but couldn’t bring the same improvements to Microsoft’s platform. This changed a few months ago when Microsoft made it possible for the Adobe Web Platform Team to contribute to Project Spartan. The team contributes in the areas of layout, typography, graphic design and motion, with significant commits to the Web platform. Adobe engineers Rik Cabanier, Max Vujovic, Sylvain Galineau, and Ethan Malasky have provided contributions in partnership with engineers on the IE team.

Adobe contributions in the Windows 10 March Technical Preview

The Adobe Web Platform Team hit a significant milestone with their first contribution landing in the March update of the Windows 10 Technical Preview! The feature is support for CSS gradient midpoints (aka color hints) and is described in the upcoming CSS images spec. With this feature, a Web developer can specify an optional location between the color stops of a CSS gradient. The color will always be exactly between the color of the 2 stops at that point. Other colors along the gradient line are calculated using an exponential interpolation function as described by the CSS spec.


linear-gradient(90deg, black 0%, 75%, yellow 100%)

radial-gradient(circle, black 0%, 75%, yellow 100%)

CSS Gradients in the Windows 10 Technical Preview

You can check this out yourself on this CSS Gradient Midpoints demo page. Just install the March update to Windows 10 Technical Preview and remember to enable Experimental Web Platform Features in about:flags to enable the new rendering engine. This change will bring IE to the same level as WebKit Nightly, Firefox beta and Chrome.

Another change that Adobe has recently committed is full support for <feBlend> blend modes. The W3C Filter Effects spec extended <feBlend> to support all blend modes per the CSS compositing and blending specification. Our new engine will now support these new values like the other major browsers.

New blend modes expand existing values normal, multiply, screen, overlay, darken and lighten with color-dodge, color-burn, hard-light, soft-light, difference, exclusion, hue, saturation, color and luminosity.

To use the new modes just specify the desired mode in the <feBlend> element. For example:

<feBlend mode=’luminosity’ in2=’SourceGraphic’ />

Internet Explorer 11

feBlend in Internet Explorer 11

Project Spartan

feBlend in Project Spartan on the Windows 10 Technical Preview

You can try this out today at Adobe’s CodePen demo in Internet Explorer on the Windows 10 Technical Preview by selecting “Enable Experimental Web Platform Features” under about:flags.

We are just getting started

Congratulations to the Adobe Web Platform Team on their first commit! We are looking forward to a more expressive Web and moving the Web platform forward! Let us know what you think via @IEDevChat or in the comments below.

— Bogdan Brinza, Program Manager, Project Spartan

Comments (25)

  1. Jon says:

    This is great news, but I hope it is only the vanguard of a switch to a completely open source model for Spartan. I don't see what practical or commercial purpose is served by retaining a closed-source model.

  2. Ilya says:

    And yet it still fails to properly address the gamma correction when scaling the images (as in this test:…/gamma_dalai_lama.html)

  3. arizdev says:

    OMG, yas. Keep it coming Microsoft!!!

  4. john mitas says:

    great work … BUT sigh .. all closed and secretive … It really is sad that you haven't adopted transparency in your development process…

    You're the modern browser should be open in every sense of the word!

  5. Kazi says:

    Open sourcing Trident would be a nuclear bomb news, and would launches Microsoft's appreciation into space. No?

  6. Laurentiu says:

    Felicitari Bogdan.

  7. Gazza says:

    Isn't Edge mode in IE11 designed to be the same as Spartan?

    Can we expect the IE11 Edge mode to be the same as Spartan when they ship, or did I misunderstand the plan where IE11 Edge would evolve over time with Spartan, and IE10- would be left to age gracefully?

  8. giuseppe says:

    This is great!

  9. Adam says:

    When do we get to contribute fixes?

    I'd like to fix textarea cursor placement.

    I'd like to add textarea stretching.

    I'd like to add improvements to the dev tools UI to bring it up to modern UI specs.

    I'd like to fix the focus/selection issues with the url in the address bar.

    I'd like to fix the bug with popup/named windows sharing the same name space context across domains.

    I'd like to fix the bug with partial addresses being deleted if the user switches focus to another app to get the info they need to finish typing the URL.

    I'd like to add developer/advanced flags for users to disable the most annoying issues in IE that make developers despise developing in IE… e.g. the inability to launch the developer tools from the new tab page or to run javascript: URLs from the new tab page.

    … and dozens more

  10. mappy says:

    And i'd like fix the behaviour of http-basic-auth in iframes to make it consistent with chrome/firefox…

    It's the one single thing i do UA detection for.

  11. noname says:





  12. Neil says:

    I'd like to fix the "window.prompt(msg, default);" implementation to actually work in 'Metro UI' and in desktop mode to not look like an abandoned stepchild of Windows3.11 and actually display messages longer than 3 lines and be able to render non-ASCII characters! (wow that's only been an open bug for like what…. a decade or so?

    I'd also like to fix the ", name, features);" method to (a) accept any valid value for name and not choke on spaces dashes or colons…. and most importantly return the window handle only when the window has initialized enough that manipulating it after the call doesn't choke because the window doesn't really exist yet (this bug was introduced in IE10 and was the first time I wished JavaScript Supported a sleep(); method…. just to overcome a Microsoft implementation regression bug.

  13. Jon says:

    @Neil If you're using obsolete, user-hostile features like window.prompt, you deserve everything you get. Don't block my whole browser window with your modal crap. Start coding like it's 2015, not the 1990s.

  14. David Dailey says:

    Very cool. Interesting to see Adobe and Microsoft collaborating in such an important way.  Seeing the blendmodes from SVG's <feBlend> extended to a full range of Photoshop-like blend modes is very exciting. Hopefully, someone can come tell us all about this at The Graphical Web in September!

  15. Steve says:

    @Jon – you have to ask yourself:

    "If Microsoft won't fix the most minor of UI glitches that cause years of user and developer frustration – What confidence do you have that they will catch up to other browsers and actually implement all the new features properly?"

    Microsoft and the IE Team have had multiple failed attempts at transparency, at open bug tracking, at making a blog comment form work, at making decent dev tools, at implementing the most **simple-name-describes-the-exact-implementation** APIs without failing *cough*document.getElementById(id);*cough* with not 1, not 2, but 3 separate bugs in the initial implementation.

    I'm sorry but the "we're going to play the standards (and semi-open) game now" talk is just a little bit cheap and is 10-15 years too late.

  16. hAl says:

    Could you make the autosuggestion tool stop suggesting read news articles whilst not suggesting news frontpages.

    If I go to and then click trough the newsarticles  etc etc

    then autosuggest wil keep suggesting recently visited URI's to the (read) articles and not suggest the homepage which is actually the page I want to visit first.

  17. RW says:

    I'd like the Favorites bar and Favorites folder to have some kind of SQL API. I don't know what the security implications of that would be, but I'd like to be able to suck my user data out into another DB and application for management — rather than this user mode imperative model we have now. I'm sure someone will say Powershell can do this but it's not apparent to me presently.

  18. Jon says:


    The IE team of today is an entirely different set of people from 10-15 years ago, and Microsoft as a whole has been through multiple changes of leadership since then. Obsessively trying to pin blame for past misdemeanours on the current team is pointless, unfair and counter-productive. How would you feel about customers abusing you for things your employer did over a decade ago? What possible benefit do you hope to gain, moaning about the past in blog posts like this? You sound like the stereotypical whiny, entitled developer, still pissed a decade later that a piece of software made his job a little harder. Get over it.

    Right now, the Microsoft and the IE team are making major efforts to improve their openness, standards compliance and feature set and tooling. The ES6 compatibility table (…/es6 ) shows the IE tech preview scoring a higher level of compatibility than any other browser. At this point, the question isn't when IE will catch up, it's when other browsers will catch up with IE. And the IE status site ( ) shows dozens of new features in the preview or in development, many of which remain absent from other browsers.

    Right now, the browser holding back the web isn't IE, it's Safari. I'll quote Jake Archibald — a Google developer architect so hardly a Microsoft shill — while discussing the implementation of his web app SVGOMG (…/svgomg ):

     "IE was okay, the bugs were mainly in newer and lesser used features such as blob URLs. The biggest disappointment was Safari. I was shocked how much hacking Safari needed to get basic features working."

  19. Jason says:

    Great, using Spartan is going to require a monthly subscription fee.

  20. うーん says:






  21. noname says:


  22. ohgodpleasedont says:

    Please do net any Adobe evelopers touch anything! They had their chance with flash, and completely and utterly blew it from a security perspective. Please do not let them touch anything!

  23. J. Lewis says:

    If you let Adobe touch your code, it's basically tainted with the curse of Adobe Flash. Incompetent developers implementing security bugs for the upcoming years.

  24. JD says:

    This is great news! @ohgodpleasedont – All software has bugs and security issues since they all are interconnected. But Adobe Flash Player has a much better record than Chrome, IE, Firefox and other software. Why you think it's more might be because Adobe has to actively ask you to update the software. It's also targeted with major bias by the tech media possibly also because of it's update mechanism and because it's not open source. Closed source is automatically bad according to some people but open source has it's share of the problems too (see Android fragmentation). The correct answer is it depends on the situation. Personally, I would prefer if the Flash Player was open source. Whatever your reasons remember ignorant people make biased generalized statements.

    Anyway, here is the actual data from the US-CERT.

    The Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) leads efforts to improve the nation's cybersecurity posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks to the Nation while protecting the constitutional rights of Americans. US-CERT strives to be a trusted global leader in cybersecurity – collaborative, agile, and responsive in a dynamic and complex environment.

    Flash has the lowest security issues among the following software:

    All vulnerabilities for Adobe > Flash_Player (2/5/2015 – 405),…/search-results

    All vulnerabilities for Google > Chrome (2/5/2015 – 1054),…/search-results

    All vulnerabilities for Mozilla > Firefox (2/5/2015 – 1162),…/search-results

    All vulnerabilities for Microsoft > Internet Explorer (2/5/2015 – 513),…/search-results

    All vulnerabilities for Apple > Safari (2/5/2015 – 535),…/search-results

  25. IE blows goats says:

    The above post, which was continently posted on April Fools Day, must be a joke as they(NIST) only report the vulns posted and NOT the number of vulns included within each post. To say IE is more secure than Chrome or even Safari is laughable.

    Lets look closer…/Google-Chrome.html…/Microsoft-Internet-Explorer.html

    IE has 448 code execution vulnerabilities alone!

    Chrome has 69.

    In fact most of the Chome vulns are denial of service attacks, which are no where near as serious as remote code execution.

    Google chrome hosts pwn to own and pays people to exploit its browser so their team can patch the vulns.

    Microsoft willingly participates with insecure developers.

    IE Dev team: Its good to see you are partnering with one of the most insecure software developers on this planet. This can only mean good things for users right?

    IE is dead.