Internet Explorer might not be open source, but Microsoft is trying to make its successor a little more flexible to third parties. The software giant is currently building Project Spartan, a new browser that will succeed Internet Explorer in Windows 10. As part of the company’s work, it’s partnering with "major Web entities" to help improve its web platform. This is a first for Microsoft, and it means that companies outside of Redmond will be able to contribute code to Project Spartan.
Adobe is the first of many to improve Project Spartan
Microsoft is planning to detail its various partnerships in the coming months, starting with Adobe this week. "In the past, it was challenging for Adobe (or anyone external to Microsoft) to make contributions to the Internet Explorer code base." explains Bogdan Brinza, a project manager for Project Spartan at Microsoft. "As a result, Adobe improved the Web platform in other browsers, but couldn't bring the same improvements to Microsoft's platform." This has hindered Internet Explorer against competitors like Firefox and Chrome. Adobe engineers are now contributing directly to areas of layout, typography, graphic design, and motion for Spartan. The first set of changes can be found by enabling the new Edge rendering engine in the latest preview version of Windows 10.
Adobe is a major contributor to open source browser engines like WebKit, Blink, and Gecko. While Microsoft isn’t open sourcing its new browser engine, this could be the first test of things to come. The software giant has been gradually open sourcing a number of key tools, including .NET late last year. Microsoft’s latest move is a big change from the past, and it signals an attempt to learn from its web mistakes and not be left behind in an era where web development is increasingly moving at a rapid pace. While Internet Explorer web standards support has improved in recent versions, help from expert third parties will clearly improve Project Spartan's prospects. Microsoft is currently developing Project Spartan, and it confirmed last week that it won’t be called Internet Explorer, and will have a new brand and name for its Windows 10 browser.
Windows 10 Event: Introducing Project Spartan