Microsoft is planning to support extensions in the successor to its Internet Explorer browser. Currently codenamed Spartan, the new browser will be included as part of Windows 10 across PCs, phones, and tablets. Spartan’s extension support isn’t clear, but Microsoft’s browser development team confirmed the feature on Twitter by noting that "we're working on a plan for extensions for a future update to Project Spartan."
Spartan's extensions could look a lot like Chrome's
Internet Explorer 11 currently supports add-ons, but they’re not similar to the popular extensions found in Chrome and Firefox. The Verge understands Microsoft is currently testing ways to allow Chrome extension developers to easily port their work across to Spartan. While the extension support might not be identical to that of Chrome, the results could be close. Internet Explorer has lacked fully functional extensions for years now, and Microsoft has relied on its ageing ActiveX technology to extend the functionality of its browser.
The new extensions support is likely linked to Microsoft’s plans to separate out Spartan from Internet Explorer. While some versions of Windows 10 will ship with Internet Explorer and Spartan for compatibility reasons, the new Spartan browser will use a new rendering engine named Edge. It’s similar to Microsoft’s existing Trident engine that powers Internet Explorer 11, but it’s clear the company is moving away from having to support legacy document modes. We’re still waiting to hear a lot more about Spartan, but Microsoft did reveal that the new browser also includes an inking mode to annotate web pages, Cortana digital assistant integration, and reading mode features. Microsoft will ship Spartan as part of Windows 10, but the company has not yet revealed whether it will also become available to Windows 7 or Windows 8 users.