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Title: This is Spartan – What we know about Microsoft’s IE successor
Source: [None]
URL Source: http://www.myce.com/news/this-is-sp ... microsofts-ie-successor-74233/
Published: Jan 10, 2015
Author: Bavo Luysterborg
Post Date: 2015-01-10 14:48:13 by A K A Stone
Keywords: None
Views: 1566
Comments: 5

Microsoft is building a new browser that will replace Internet Explorer as the default in Windows 10, features include a new, clean UI, Cortana integration and inking support.

Even though Internet Explorer still has a fairly large marketshare in some parts of the world, there’s no denying that it has a serious image problem. Problems with IE6 through 8, the lack of web standards support and the advent of Google Chrome have made a serious dent in Internet Explorer’s reputation, And even though Microsoft has gone through a lot of effort to make its browser compatible with the ever evolving web standards and has gone to great lengths to boost its popularity, it looks like they are losing the browser wars. Spartan is Microsoft’s big comeback plan, an entirely new browser (well, not really, more about that later) to get rid of the negative vibe surrounding Internet Explorer.


Spartan will bring a bunch of new features to convince people this is not just another browser and, more importantly, not just another IE. It all starts with a new, clean UI. Spartan will look a lot like a minimalist version of Google Chrome, the image below is an internal mock-up closely matching the design of Spartan in recent builds published by CNBeta.

Internal Mock-up

In an attempt to declutter the mess of having a bunch of different tabs open at once, Spartan will debut a new way to group browser tabs in any way you like. Support for custom themes was considered at one point, but that idea was scrapped or at least pushed back to a future update, according to The Verge.

Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana, will be deeply integrated in the new browser. Not only will Cortana search be available on the new tab page and directly from the address bar, other Cortana features like flight tracking, parcel tracking etc. will also be accessible from within Spartan (vaguely reminiscent of Google Now). Cortana will completely replace all Bing functionality.

Another Microsoft service that will be directly integrated into Spartan is OneNote. Spartan will come with inking support that allows users to take notes and doodle on any webpage and then share it through OneDrive. You’ll also be able to share webpages on your favourite social networks using the share button next to the address bar.

Spartan will provide a unified experience across tablets and phones, but that doesn’t mean that it will be a universal Store app, according to The Verge, Microsoft is planning to release a desktop app through it’s Store and a separate Store app for tablets and phones. Releasing them through the store has one big advantage, the 2 apps will be continually updated with new, identical features.

Even though Microsoft will be branding this as a completely new browser at its core it will still be Internet Explorer, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. At one point the IE team considered switching to Webkit, but that was voted down and in the end they decided to continue with IE’s Trident engine. Yes the same rendering engine that made every web developer’s job into a living hell in the IE6 days. But Trident has come a long way since IE6, it’s now relatively standards compliant and it will only get better with Spartan. According to Neowin and ZDNet the Trident engine has been forked and hugely improved. Spartan will use this new and improved version whenever possible, resulting in a big performance boost. When websites require it, Spartan can still switch to the less efficient legacy version. According to ZDnet’s Mary-Jo Foley Internet Explorer will still be included with Windows 10 for enterprise compatibility reasons.


Lastly there’s the name, Spartan. This definitely isn’t the final name, for now it’s just a codename, but Microsoft could choose to keep the name, just like they did with Cortana. The one thing we do know is that this new browser won’t be branded as Internet Explorer 12. The IE brand is damaged beyond repair and Microsoft knows it’s a lost cause, they’ll be doing everything in their power to position Spartan as a brand new browser.

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#1. To: A K A Stone (#0)

At one point the IE team considered switching to Webkit, but that was voted down and in the end they decided to continue with IE’s Trident engine. Yes the same rendering engine that made every web developer’s job into a living hell in the IE6 days. But Trident has come a long way since IE6, it’s now relatively standards compliant and it will only get better with Spartan.

It's still evil and backward. And a spy nest at the heart of your OS, telegraphing your every move back to home base.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-01-12   10:03:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: TooConservative (#1)

I don't use IE.

I used to use firefox but it was very slow and had some virus attached to it I culdn't shake.

I don't like Google but I have been using chrome and it is much faster and doesn' have the virus problem I was suffering from.

A K A Stone  posted on  2015-01-12   10:49:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: A K A Stone (#2)

Using Ghostery and DDG close a lot of holes. Blocking phone-home scripts with NoScript is good too.

You can easily install Ghostery in Chrome, just like in Firefox or even Safari. Go to the Chrome store and find AdBlock Plus (with 50 million users, ignore the other ones that are named similarly). Then do a search and install for Ghostery. Walk through the easy setup, only leave sites like Yahoo or Gmail enabled and disable all else. It will briefly report to you all the snoop sites that it is blocking as you surf, very slick.

These things also help keep bad sites from hacking into your web browser. They do take some RAM and CPU though. Anything with a few gigs of RAM and a dual-core CPU should do fine with them. And you can enable/disable them on a site-by-site basis.

You could even try something like Stylish, a way to restyle web pages entirely. I wrote a style sheet for LP that you can see here running with the latest Chrome v39. Since it is the same forum software, it should run here with few changes. I think you don't enable Breaking News so that portion would have to be removed. Maybe I'll write a version just for LF for fun. I only ever had one other user over at LP, someone who stopped in rarely.

The extensions are what make Firefox and Chrome so powerful.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-01-12   12:28:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: TooConservative, pinguinite (#3)

I think you don't enable Breaking News so that portion would have to be removed.

I didn't enable it. Then I was thinking about it. I think neil said it was not possible now. Correct me if I am mistaken.

A K A Stone  posted on  2015-01-12   12:30:49 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: A K A Stone (#4) (Edited)

Not as far as I know. He indicates that you are running the latest version of the code in posts I've seen. I think 4um does too. Goldi's was slightly older in some places, her Help page didn't include the forum version number or the exact same contents. When you look at 4um, the difference in their look is almost entirely due to the CSS and .html template files. The same for Robin's TFF. The CSS and HTML template files are just the page headers and footers in HTML with some special tags called < --CGI-CONTENT-- > in them. So the forum loads the template and starts printing it out to your browser (the header begins to layout to the user at this point). When it hits the < !--CGI-CONTENT--> in the template file, it then calls the designated Perl file to process it. And so it emits a formatted article and then the first 40 comments with the user seeing it start to display on his browser. When the CGI-CONTENT is done, it returns to the template file to finish off the rest of the web page. It does all this on almost web page you look at here. If you look at the web page source for any article like this page, look 33 lines up from the bottom of the listing and you'll see the words < !--CGI-CONTENT--> because that is where the template inserted all the thread's comments.

You really should look at your /template directory some time. Very informative. It's not that hard to understand, a standard way to do templating for years in Perl. Solid work.

One of the nice things about Neil's code is that it is fluent Perl but is pretty straightforward. His code is clear throughout; he isn't out to be a Perl wizard though he seems technically proficient with it. If he hadn't written the Perl with clarity, I wouldn't have ever figured out his system. As it is, very clever stuff. I do think Pinguinite has a lot of potential that has never been tapped.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-01-12   16:50:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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