Trident (software)

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Basic data

developer Microsoft
Current  version see Internet Explorer
operating system Windows
Solaris and HP-UX (no further development) Windows 3.1 - Me (no further development)
programming language C ++
category Engine library
License Proprietary (Microsoft EULA)

Trident (also known as MSHTML ) is the HTML rendering engine for the Windows versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser . The first version of Trident was introduced with the release of Internet Explorer 4 in 1997 and has been developed to this day - it is a core component of all subsequent versions of Internet Explorer.

Earlier versions of Internet Explorer for Mac OS were based on the completely separate Tasman engine .

In versions 7, 8 and 9 of this browser, Microsoft made serious changes to the engine to improve its compatibility with the established web standards . Internet Explorer 7 represented a significant step forward in this direction, because Microsoft was able to fix many errors with it, some of them serious. The successor version, Internet Explorer 8, passed the Acid2 test for the first time , and Internet Explorer 9 passed the Acid3 test. In addition, numerous innovations in the web standard have been implemented with this version. The current version of the browser (Internet Explorer 11) continues this development.

Trident in software development

Trident was developed to enable developers to easily integrate them into their own developments. The engine offers a COM interface to display and edit websites in environments with COM support; for example, the programming language C ++ and the .NET runtime environment provide such support. A browser control can be added to a C ++ or VB program and used to retrieve the contents of a website loaded in the browser. Events of the browser operation can also be queried. Trident functionality is achieved by linking the mshtml.dll file to the project.


Older version; no longer supported
Older version; still supported
Current version
Current preliminary version
Future version
version( a ) browser
( b )
Notes and most important changes
Older version; no longer supported: 4.0 First version
Older version; no longer supported: 5.0 Improved CSS-1 support and changes to CSS-2 support.
Older version; no longer supported: 5.5 Fixed problems with CSS processing
Older version; no longer supported: 6.0 Fixed bug in the so-called "box model", added quirks mode
Older version; still supported: 7.0 Fixed numerous errors in CSS rendering, added support for transparent PNG graphics
Older version; no longer supported: Mobile 7.0 Trident / 3.1 Outdated version for Windows Phone 7 , based on a mix of desktop version 7 and 8.
Older version; still supported: 8.0 Trident / 4.0 Current version under Windows XP . The first version to pass the Acid2 test
Older version; still supported: 9.0 Trident / 5.0 Current version under Windows Vista . The manufacturer wants to achieve full CSS 3.0 compatibility. Thanks to Direct2D, the page rendering should be significantly faster than with previous versions and thus achieve a speed similar to that of competing products despite higher security.
Older version; still supported: Mobile 9.0 Trident / 5.0 Current version for Windows Phone 7 , based on desktop version 9.0, fully hardware accelerated
Older version; still supported: 10.0 Trident / 6.0 Version under Windows 8 . Improved support for CSS 3.0, HTML5 and JavaScript .
Older version; still supported: Mobile 10.0 Trident / 6.0 Outdated version for Windows Phone 8 , based on the desktop version 10.0
Current version: 11.0 Trident / 7.0 Current version under Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows 8.1
Current version: Mobile 11.0 Trident / 7.0 Current version under Windows Phone 8 , based on desktop version 11.0

( a ) The version number refers to the version of MSHTML.dll , which is also identical to that of Internet Explorer .
( b ) With Internet Explorer 8.0, the browser recognition has been extended to include a reference to the version of Trident used.

Trident-based applications

All versions of Internet Explorer 4 or later use Trident as the rendering engine. In Windows 98 , Windows Me , and Windows 2000 , Windows Explorer uses the engine; in Windows XP, it is used for the "Add or Remove Programs" and "User Accounts" control panels; the modules are HTML applications.

In addition, numerous program components and applications from other manufacturers make use of it, including:

Standard conformity

Although every version of Internet Explorer generally supports web standards (a "Standards-Compliant Mode" was implemented in Internet Explorer 6), some core standards were rendered incompletely. For example, there was no support for the <abbr> element, which was introduced with HTML 4.01, and for the display of surrounding spacing of containers that were specified in CSS 1. Furthermore, the CSS specification min-height was not supported, which should allow a minimum height of stretchable containers.

Internet Explorer 8 fully supports CSS 2.

Alternatives from Microsoft


The Tasman HTML rendering engine was used in Internet Explorer 5 for Mac. Internet Explorer for Mac previously used Trident. The development of Internet Explorer for Mac was stopped in 2003, Tasman was further developed and later used in Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac.

Expression Web

Microsoft's web design project Expression Web uses a specially developed renderer instead of Trident, which according to Microsoft should implement the web standards most consistently.


EdgeHTML is Microsoft's short-lived HTML rendering engine that was first used on Windows 10 in the Microsoft Edge web browser . However, since 2018 Microsoft has been working on a Chromium -based successor, so that the importance of EdgeHTML will wane even more due to the already small user base.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Internet Explorer Mobile 7 is based on version 7.0 of the desktop version and contains some elements from version 8.0
  2. Internet Explorer 8 passes the Acid 2 test
  3. An Early Look At IE9 for Developers
  4. ^ The Internet Explorer 8 User-Agent String. Microsoft , January 9, 2009, accessed January 12, 2009 .
  5. Outlook 2007 - Html emails do not support CSS! (No longer available online.) April 24, 2007, archived from the original on January 22, 2009 ; Retrieved January 20, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Netscape 8.1: Browser with a special security area. January 26, 2006, accessed March 23, 2010 .
  7. CSS Compatibility in Internet Explorer 8 . Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Expression Web features. Microsoft, accessed January 28, 2015 .
  9. ^ This is Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer. The Verge , April 29, 2015, accessed April 29, 2015 .