Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Graphics The Internet

Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine 166

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has put up a post about explaining what they wanted to accomplish when they started working on Project Spartan, the new web browser that will ship with Windows 10. They say some things you wouldn't expect to hear from Microsoft: "We needed a plan to make it easy for Web developers to build compatible sites regardless of which browser they develop first for. We needed a plan which ensured that our customers have a good experience regardless of whether they browse the head or tail of the Web. We needed a plan which gave enterprise customers a highly backward compatible browser regardless of how quickly we pushed forward with modern HTML5 features." They also explain how they decided against using WebKit so they wouldn't contribute to "a monoculture on the Web."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I got a goal for you: Make it not an insecure steaming piece of shit!

    • I've not been paying much attention to Windows for a few years, but does IE still have the same poor security reputation? I was under the impression that it did the multiprocess thing and sandboxed each instance, putting it in the same ballpark as Chrome and Safari and ahead of Firefox (which is finally going to start adding sandboxing support now). Did they manage to screw up the sandboxing and make something that's still trivially exploitable, or are you just repeating ten-year-old information?
  • by QilessQi ( 2044624 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:10PM (#49142009)

    We needed a plan which ensured that our customers have a good experience regardless of whether they browse the head or tail of the Web

    Sounds like a good plan... a lot of people use sites like Tinder and Grindr to find both head and tail.

  • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:12PM (#49142027)

    You mean like Internet Explorer used to be?

    • My first thought was why not webkit, it was answered at the end of the summery " They also explain how they decided against using WebKit so they wouldn't contribute to "a monoculture on the Web." and makes sense (didn't RTA), being a backup browser for sites you can't access.

      I not even don't use IE but it's never been updated and it's access blocked. I'll wait and see what they've come up with.

      Never did install Win10 but able, didn't care for them being able to access my system, mic, or webcam when they wan

      • didn't care for them being able to access my system, mic, or webcam when they wanted.

        So you installed Chrome, which... can access your system, mic, or webcam when it wants to...

    • Exactly. Lets not go back to that. Last thing we want is a webkit monoculture.

  • Hard to believe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:13PM (#49142039)

    > "We needed a plan to make it easy for Web developers to build compatible sites regardless of which browser they develop first for."

    Can you even IMAGINE Microsoft saying that 15 years ago? 10 years ago? So is it because they are a better company now before... or is it just because they have no choice but to cooperate (since people left IE in droves for Firefox, Opera, and Chrome)?

    >" They also explain how they decided against using WebKit so they wouldn't contribute to "a monoculture on the Web."

    Oh right.... because Microsoft would never want to support a monoculture... Hmm... I need to go find some Twilight Zone episodes to watch, now.

    • Re: Hard to believe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:29PM (#49142179) Journal

      IE 11 implements W3C standards better than any browser. Webkit might have more check offs from html5test but they are not implemented the same way as w3c.

      Css 3 animations are a good example. Chrome does not do them right without hacks.

      It is not IE 6 anymore and Sun and IBM subverted and changed proposed standards IE 6 used in development on purpose. It was not designed to break Web pages. Mozilla and Netscape were worse in 2001 believe it or not

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:31PM (#49142201)
        Yes, but Mozilla/Netscape was not an integral part of my OS kernel giving malware a vector right into the system-level processes of the computer.
        • by c2me2 ( 2202232 )
          Internet Explorer was never "an integral part of my OS kernel". That's just plain ignorance on your part. It was shipped in the box, and MSHTML.DLL was used by the shell (Windows Explorer). That does not make it "part of [the] OS kernel".
        • What is this, 1998? IE was never part of the kernel. The complaints were:
          • MSHTML.dll (around which IE was a very thin wrapper) was installed by default and used by loads of things.
          • Lots of things in Windows that should have used MSHTML.dll to embed a web view, or just invoked the default browser, used IE so that you couldn't uninstall IE without breaking Windows.
          • MS bundled IE with Windows and used their near monopoly in the desktop OS market to gain a dominant position in the browser market and push Net
      • Don't go posting facts and reason in a MS 2 minutes hate session. Next thing you know they'll accuse you of being a Redmondite.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, they don't support standards better than other browsers. They just support a couple of features better than others do. A quick look at testing suites and caniuse.com reveals just how far behind they are compared to others. I'm glad they've improved, but misinformation isn't going to help make them look any better.

        • Re: Hard to believe (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:59PM (#49142479)

          I'm getting the impression that is why they are shipping the Spartan web browser. I've been getting the feeling that they've been having troubles coding IE to support many HTML5 features without breaking a their legacy crap. Add to that the browser is heavily integrated into the win32s code and you're in for a coding nightmare. They were never going to be able to develop for changes as fast as competing browsers with that model and they knew it. As such, this move makes the most sense given their options. As long as they stay dedicated to working with web standards, I'm all for it. I'm just going to be very wary given their history with the web.

          • Firefox was Mozillas spartan. Netscape code really bogged it down. Firefox was just better after the striping

        • Does it test implementation? Game pad support as one example was just now a proposal. IE doesn't support that therefore it is not compliant is not true as no standard implementation is agreed upon

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Livius ( 318358 )

      Microsoft used to say these sorts of things all the time. They even fooled a lot of people at first.

      • by chihowa ( 366380 )

        They're barely even trying to hide it this time, though. I mean come on, "Spartan". Yeah right. Without the PR, their true colors show through!

      • by c2me2 ( 2202232 )
        I love Slashdot. I just think of it as a satire site, like The Onion. Shit like this post gets marked as "Insightful"?? Hilarious!
    • Can you even IMAGINE Microsoft saying that 15 years ago? 10 years ago?

      Yes, think of the standard pattern:

      1) Embrace.
      2) Extend.
      3) Extinguish.

      This fits perfectly in the pattern, it is an echo of "Developers, developers, developers!", it is exactly what you would expect from Microsoft when they realize they are back to the Embrace step.

      • All of us who know Microsoft's history in this area need to watch them carefully and make sure that none of the people we advise are caught unaware. That being said, as long as they don't pull their old behavior, I'm all for their current track.

    • Re:Hard to believe (Score:4, Interesting)

      by plover ( 150551 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @06:41PM (#49142293) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft is a very different company than they were under Gates or the Sweat-hog. They long ago figured out that their cash cows were kind of fragile, and they more recently figured out that they alienated a lot of developers. They are now trying to find ways to woo developers to any of their product families, not just to Windows. And they've done some great work on a lot of software engineering fronts, including secure development, powerful tools, integrations, and are even dabbling in open source,

      • Can a leopard change its spots?

        • When it's the next generation of them, yes. That doesn't mean they will, though. We'll have to wait and see and be wary.

        • I'm sure there is still some culture of embrace, extend, extinguish within Microsoft. I'm sure some in the business products group still feel like they have no competition and they can treat customers as poorly as they wish. However, the worst elements of Microsoft's culture were rooted in their monopoly, the fact that they could do whatever they wanted and customers would still buy from them. Today, the MAJORITY of hardware purchased runs Android, not Windows. I think Microsoft has taken that fact to

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        I say if rendering their cash cows 'kind of fragile' causes them to become a different company, render away. No sense stopping now, when they're just beginning to change. Believe me, if they had a way of locking developers down to Metro, they'd do it.

        • by plover ( 150551 )

          That's the change: they've come to the realization that they can't lock developers down to anything, at least not like they used to. I think it's long past due, but that's from an outsider's perspective where it's easier to see the whole landscape, not just focus what goes on in Redmond.

          • by gtall ( 79522 )

            It isn't that they realize they cannot do that, it is that they are still looking for a way to get back to doing that.

      • And [Microsoft has] done some great work on a lot of software engineering fronts, including secure development, powerful tools, integrations, and are even dabbling in open source,[sic]

        Only until they can find a way to subvert it. Don't let Microsoft's current worries confuse you into thinking that that company has changed in any way, shape, or form. The moment Microsoft management think the coast is clear, they will drive their hidden knives into your back. It's one of the few things Microsoft does well.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        Microsoft did a lot of great engineering under Gates and Ballmer as well. In terms of softening their competitive streak that happens to many companies as they move up market. IBM for example is far less proprietary now than they used to be.

    • by znrt ( 2424692 )

      > "We needed a plan to make it easy for Web developers to build compatible sites regardless of which browser they develop first for."

      Can you even IMAGINE Microsoft saying that 15 years ago?

      yes. it's old. ms has been lying and spreading bs and fud since day one. an egregious and sick example of their cynicism in this area is "compatibility mode".

    • Developers! Developers! Developers!

      They always tried to make platforms that were easy to program for, it is just that the platform changed. Yes, they were dragged to this new platform kicking and screaming, but it was inevitable.

      Also a monoculture based on an open source project is very different than what we had before.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Yes I can. That's the sort of stuff they did say 20 years ago. They were advocates of both standards and individual experimentation. So for example they liked Flash being cross platform but wanted Active-X for when developers wanted platform specific features.

      10 years ago their goal was to retard progress on the web.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And you should too.

    • Are you going for a funny mod? I'm all for their current track but, that doesn't mean for a second that I trust them, just that I'll give them a chance.

  • ... contribute to a monoculture by avoiding WebKit. Just so long as this isn't just going to be another form of developer lock-in. (Which I suspect it will be.)

    • by solios ( 53048 )

      Until it runs on something other than Windows it's already locked-in.

      • by rHBa ( 976986 )
        Agreed, but did you know that MS give away free VMs [modern.ie]* for testing IE?

        I'm not suggesting that running IE in a VM means it's not locked-in but it's pretty handy, even for Windows based web devs I'd imagine.

        * Free as in beer, not free as in liberty, obviously.
  • Really? Why not? Microsoft has been moving in this direction for quite some time now, not matter what the haters on /. like to insist.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      What substantive actions can you point to that don't run purely on their platform? (Promises and PR statements don't count.)

  • Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. We are back to the embrace mode. Sure, I'd trust Microsoft completely. But why not contribute code to existing open source projects? What's the benefit in writing commodity software? There's got to be something in it for them down the road. To steer the direction of the web in their direction somehow. If Microsoft announced they'd be now contributing to Firefox or any other popular open source project then I'll trust them again. Look at what Google is doing with Chrome. They are
    • Look at what Google is doing with Chrome. They are beginning to leverage their other services to steer people to Chrome by only developing to Chrome instead of open standards. It's a feedback loop to steer people to their browser, then offer services through the browser that are Google specific. It's all for your data people. They realized long ago that data is a moneymaker and the best way to get it is directly to the source.

      It's all that's left for Google to do, go forth. I would imagine they are able to do now what NSA could only dream of years ago. That sign in at a Google search screen bothers me, at which point is one going to be required to use it.

      • That sign in at a Google search screen bothers me, at which point is one going to be required to use it.

        Last time I checked (which was today [google.com]), creating a Gmail account required a mobile phone number. So for someone buying a mobile phone in order to have a mobile phone number in order to create a Google account, where is one supposed to search for reviews of mobile phones? If a different web search engine, then why not just stick with that instead of using Google Search?

  • They always say this now, and their browser is always shit. Its more than safe to expect it to suck.

    • They always say this now, and their browser is always shit. Its more than safe to expect it to suck.

      To be fair, it's gotten better and better. It's to the point now where I don't dread having to use it to download firefox.

  • Just like with their phones, tablets and bing, they should have learned there isn't much demand for a 3rd or 4th place product. People who like Chrome will stick with it, people who like Firefox will stick with it. They may get a few people who switch from IE to this, but many of them will just keep using the newest version of IE. In the end, I won't use it or put it on any of our workplace computers. Any browser by microsoft will be tied to closely to the operating system, keeping the doorway unlocked for
  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @07:09PM (#49142585)

    Standards compliance.

    Seriously, all the solutions to those plans have been staring them in the face for 20 years. Ironically, MS's own desire for a monoculture on the web prevented them from seeing that.

  • "the head or tail of the Web"? What the file system check is that?
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday February 26, 2015 @10:36PM (#49143969) Homepage

    ...wasn't it? I've sort of lost track, but I think Microsoft has made precisely this claim for every browser. Yes, here we go: [zdnet.com]

    " That's your vision for IE7, to definitely support Web standards?

    Chris: Absolutely, in IE7 we really are trying to support Web standards. Even at the expense of more backwards compatibility..."

    Then much the same thing was said of IE8,

    and then we read that
    "I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised to read this post on el reg that highlights that IE9 is currently the most standards compliant beta browser on the block. Iâ(TM)m really proud of the work the IE9 team is doing to nail the the things that were previously levelled at Internet Explorer for being a 'bad browser.'"

    It's the same every time. They acknowledge that the previous browser wasn't standards-compliant after all, and promise the one they are now working on is.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Web standards have been constantly evolving.
    • And each new version the adherence to the standards grew considerably. The real problem was that IE6 was the top dog for so freaking long that every single site on the web was made to support it. IE7 and 8 are still a clusterfuck to develop for, but IE9 is ok. It is missing a lots of modern features but the ones it does have it adheres to the standard quite well (its debugger still sucks though, so it is still annoying to develop for it). I develop targeting IE>=9, Chrome, Firefox and Safari and I don't

    • It's the same every time. They acknowledge that the previous browser wasn't standards-compliant after all, and promise the one they are now working on is.

      And it payed off no? as a professional web developer I very pleased with how much better IE10 is over IE6 in terms of standards compliance.
      If anything, they have been accelerating the rate of adoption of standards.

  • We have seen some suprises leaning towards the positive side from MS lately, no doubt. I'll admit that. However, MS has screwed up so much, so often, for so long that I'm weary of taking their word for it when it comes to enabling a more hassle free web.

    If MS offers a relyably usable web frontend I at least will stop recommending *against* MS with my customers. In my opinion it would be smart for them to focus on openess and professional services with native software as a fallback for the heavy lifting. The

  • The Web is in the mess it now is because Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Netscape, back in the day) has gone through so many iterations of deliberately trying to create subtly incompatible variants of HTML. Creating a browser which is backwards compatible with that mess simply perpetuates the mess. The new browser should simply refuse to render non-conforming legacy pages at all - that would force web site owners to clean up their act in short order.

  • Only if your view of MS is stuck in the aera of Halloween-Documents. They are doing pretty great work regarding openness and interoperability esp. since Satya took over.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

Working...