Microsoft's Project Spartan browser is HERE (unless you build apps or run VMs, that is)

Devs might be wise to skip latest Windows 10 build

Project Spartan screenshot

Microsoft has shipped a new build of Windows 10 that offers a first look at its much-hyped Project Spartan web browser, but the software giant has cautioned that developers may want to hold off upgrading.

In a Monday blog post, Redmond man Gabe Aul said Project Spartan is the main feature of Windows 10 Build 10049, which is rolling out now to testers on the Fast release ring of the Windows Insider program.

But he added that the build also causes problems with Visual Studio 2015, the preview version of Microsoft's integrated development environment, and that coders who are using VS2015 to build Windows Universal Apps should probably stick to the older Build 10041 for now.

The Windows 10 phone emulator won't boot on Build 10049, Aul said. And because deploying Universal Apps to mobile phones isn't supported yet, that means developers will be left with no way to test their apps on mobile devices if they upgrade to the new Windows 10 PC build. What's more, he said, Build 10049 also causes the XAML design tool in Visual Studio and Blend to crash.

"If you are a developer using these tools today to develop Windows Universal apps and need this functionality to work – we recommend switching to the Slow ring until we release a patch to fix these issues," Aul said.

Another deal-breaker would be if you're using Windows 10 as a host for Hyper-V virtual machines, because Build 10049 also breaks the ability to boot VMs, too.

The new release should be of particular interest to web developers, however, because it marks the first time Microsoft has shipped a build of Project Spartan, albeit one that's admittedly rough around the edges.

Last week, Redmond shifted its Windows 10 browser strategy such that Project Spartan will now be the only way to get its vaunted, fresh-from-scratch new HTML rendering engine that promises to do away with years of Internet Explorer's legacy quirks and poor compliance with web standards.

"As with all other new features we’ve introduced, we have a ton of work left to do with Spartan so expect to see some bugs and rough edges in this first preview," Aul said, but he stopped short of giving a timeline for when we can expect Build 10049's known issues to be fixed.

Aul also said on Friday that Microsoft plans to make a new build of Windows 10 for mobile phones available soon that will support a broader range of handsets than the initial build, but that the Windows team will need another week of development before they have something they feel is ready for testing. ®

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