What comes after Internet Explorer 11? Spartan.

Let’s face it.  Internet Explorer categorically sucks.

The world knows it; Microsoft knows it; developers know it; everyone knows it.

Microsoft’s reputation for branding broken browsers was irrevocably tarnished with the advent of Internet Explorer 6.  And even though subsequent versions of that infamous browser helped mitigate the foul taste stained by IE6, Internet Explorer was never quite ready for prime time.

IE had too many idiosyncrasies; too many deviations from established standards and often required crazy coding calisthenics to make it work.  Inventive programmers usually had to concoct unconventional workarounds to make even the most rudimentary stuff work.

So here’s a question for you:  We all know Microsoft surprisingly named the Windows 8.2, Windows 10.  So what’s going to happen with Internet Explorer in Windows 10?

Will it leap the chasm from Internet Explorer 12 to 13?  Or maybe Microsoft will relegate Internet Explorer to the catacombs of time and forego that whole project as a “bad experiment”?

A new browser on the block

It turns out that Microsoft is purportedly writing an entirely new browser forked from the IE12 rendering engine called Trident.  IE12 currently ships with Windows 10 but the new browser, codenamed Spartan, will be a completely disparate thing.

Spartan will most likely have its own rendering engine forked from its parent and will flaunt its own collection of DLL files.

But despite the newness, Spartan should play nice with legacy sites.

If a web page goes ape in Spartan, Trident, can hand off the request to the legacy IE12 web engine.  Otherwise, the site will display in the new optimized version of Trident.

Spartan will ostensibly resemble Chrome and Firefox, continue to use the Trident web engine (rather than Webkit) and will be backwards compatible with IE12.  The idea is that both IE12 and Spartan, will ship with Windows 10 when it goes live this Fall.

Early signs

In Early December, Mary Jo Folly of ZDNet, whose technical augury is only eclipsed by the executives at Microsoft, noticed an interesting post on Twitter.

Thomas Nigro, Microsoft Student Partner lead, was listening to a LiveTile podcast when the speaker said Microsoft was poised to unwrap a new browser in Windows 10 that isn’t Internet Explorer.

Thomas Nigro Tweet

 

This news comports with the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session that was held with Internet Explorer developers in late August 2014.

I read through the post and it’s hard to forget the adumbration of one lead developer…

Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.

-Jonathan

IEDevChat on Reddit AMA

It’s difficult to pinpoint what the IE devs have in mind but they are undoubtedly up to something big.  My best conjecture is that the next big thing is still an inchoate project but I’m hoping we’ll get a peak during Microsoft’s next big event on January 21st.

What do you think of Spartan?  Will changing the browser name to a prominent city of ancient Greece ameliorate years of customer dissatisfaction with IE?  Let me know in the comment, I’m curious what you think about all this.

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