Microsoft promised us that they would provide more frequent Windows 10 preview updates? For the most adventurous, the company is delivering on that with a brand new release today, numbered 10049. For now, it is only being sent out to those using the “fast ring” of the update mechanism, so users who prefer to still remain on the track of stability should stick to the slow branch.
Part of the “plight” of such incremental builds is that they will contain less changes, since they are being incorporated on the fly with faster releases. You have to have a trade off for everything, right?
The positive aspect of it, of course, is that users who choose the fast ring will now see bleeding edge technology running on their computers right away. This could include bug fixes, as well as changes based on feedback Microsoft receives from testers.
Speaking of things that have an “edge”, Microsoft is including their new browser, code-named Spartan, which includes a rendering engine called edge.
Spartan has many people “on edge” as well, as earlier this month
Tom Warren from the Verge decried the death of Internet Explorer. Many lashed out against this view, sighting it as a huge technological inaccuracy, as Internet explorer is not going to die anytime soon. At least, if the pace of enterprise is any indication. One of the key features of Spartan will be its ability to switch between this new Edge rendering engine and the old tridant one used in Internet Explorer. Similarly, the Internet explorer in Windows 10 will be able to use Spartan’s engine to deliver a smoother experience for legacy customers. Businesses can still use IE and not lose compatibility with their corporate intranet sites.
Spartan is certainly the shedding of Internet Explorer as Microsoft’s branded web browser. While we do not know yet if the name “Spartan” will be the final one the company will use to refer to it, the idea behind the focus is crystal clear: Bring Windows and Microsoft services into the modern age. It will include features such as Cortana integration for searches, personalized annotations which can be saved to one drive, and a reading mode feature which is present across many browsers today.
Most importantly, though, Spartan uses the new Edge engine to render websites as we move towards a web future of standards. Early benchmarks
show huge gains in website processing times compared to Internet Explorer. In fact, Spartan is just as fast as the latest Chrome and Firefox browsers.
For those eager to check out the new browser, you should know that multiple key features are missing as of build 10049. These include downloads as well as history functionality. When it comes to accessibility, Project Spartan does not render web pages in an accessible form just yet, and all major screen readers struggle to display content within the browser window. Both Microsoft and screen reader companies will probably have to do work in implementing the proper frameworks for presenting the web content in an accessible buffer.
Microsoft’s Accessibility team reached out
On twitter and encourages feedback to be sent to their teams. As always,
This survey is the best way to write out your thoughts to the appropriate people. In addition,
The MSDN forums are a highly useful place for this feedback as well.
Please do not forget that Windows 10 is Microsoft’s first release which is tailored heavily upon the feedback of early testers in the general public. While we must stress that the builds are not for everyone and certainly should not be used on a daily machine, this is a great way for anyone to jump in and experience the adventure of something new. Build 10049 still has the same issues as found in 10041 (No tabbing around the TaskBar, start-menu search is unstable at times, etc), but Microsoft is aware of these problems and they will be fixed before customers have the product in their hands.