Web Design

Project Spartan: Is it Compatible?

At work we're still stuck on IE9.  We just started the discussion of upgrading our web browser, and Project Spartan came up.  As a web developer, there's only one thing I care about: is it compatible?


So what is Project Spartan?  It's Microsoft's new web browser which totally won't suck because it's totally not Internet Explorer.  (Except it is - it's a fork of the Trident rendering engine.  But nobody likes IE so it's totally something new, we swear.)

So, is it compatible?  The good news: It's a lot better than Internet Explorer.  And it's getting better; Microsoft has promised to work with the W3C about any problems they find.  We don't even have a working beta yet; you have to load IE11 in the preview version of Windows 10 and turn on edge mode rendering to get the new Spartan engine.  So, lots of time for improvements.

But how does it stack up so far?  Let's look at html5test.com, a real time browser standards testing suite.  Here's how Spartan stacks up:

  • Chrome: 498 (out of 555 possible points - higher is better)
  • Firefox: 448
  • Project Spartan: 343
  • IE9: 113

That last one was just for fun.  It's obvious that the IE engine has come a LONG way in four years.  But Spartan still falls far short of the "true" standars-compliant browsers, Chrome and Firefox.  And given Microsoft's history, and their continued adherence to the Trident engine, I don't expect it to get much better.

But for now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the hearing is continued.