MozillaZine

Full Article Attached Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth and Consequences

Thursday October 1st, 1998

I've had a few days to consider the NGLayout / Communicator 5.0 issue and the WSP petition, and finally have some words to speak on it. So, click "Full Article" below if you're interested in reading mozillaZine's first editorial opinion piece.

I should make clear before you start that mozillaZine is an independent site, and the opinions expressed in this article and in past articles in no way represent the feelings or opinions of the Mozilla Project or Netscape. We like the guys, but we would never presume to speak for them!


#1 Re: Standards and comunity

by chris chabot <chabotc@ism.nl>

Thursday October 1st, 1998 12:32 PM

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The main reason i singned the petition is because it is to much to develop a web site twice .. Once for IE and once for NS, as the saying goes, when u have to suit both, you will get the -worst- of both worlds, limitiations of both browsers, and non of its name specific functions. Thus a good ccs/html4.0 would benifit me, and the whole web greatly ..

And as far the comunity goes, do what i do, i want the nglayout engine, so i help the coding effort best i can .. And i sugest everyone tries to do the same, if you want it to badly that we have to slam our friend netscape/mozilla, it better be worth coding for!!

#2 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by George Giannukos <beg1@netscape.net>

Thursday October 1st, 1998 3:18 PM

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I probably wouldn't have posted this, but today i received an email from some person who told me to go fuck myself and go shove Nutscrap up my butt.

After more flaming emails between him and myself i find that he is a web developer.

I have said before and i'll say it again; most of IE users are web developers.

If i had to pick whether N5.0 had more features or had the NGlayout in it; i would pick more features. Ya, i want Netscape to support DHTML, CSS, ect...but no web sites use that, so what's the point? For the people at WSP saying that if Netscape5.0 doesn't support these standards that Netscape will die... Well, the only problem is, most normal human beings does give a damn if their browser supports DHTML or DOM or whatever else, but most people i talk to want a fast browser that has tons of features. The average joe smoe are the ones who determine Netscape fate, not some dumb W3C standards.

that's my 2 cents..

#3 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Greg Miller <gmiller@classic-games.com>

Thursday October 1st, 1998 4:56 PM

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Say what? No web sites use CSS? Wake up and take a look around. CSS is pretty widely used. XML, DOM, and CSS2 would be if browsers had gotten it right yet. I'm not a WSP member, but what's the point in a new browser release that still doesn't get the core functionality right?

#4 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by George <beg1@netscape.net>

Thursday October 1st, 1998 5:03 PM

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Well, the web sites that are recieveing like 80% of the traffic are plain HTML sites...

<http://www.news.com>,<http://www.excite.com>,ect...

anyhow, i have never received an error because a web page used XML or any other lang. for that matter.

#5 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Aleks Zawisza <awz@home.com>

Thursday October 1st, 1998 9:55 PM

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Actually, <http://www.news.com> makes heavy use of CCS. A lot of big name sites do, it makes things easier for them. And the only valid complaints I ever hear against Netscape are that Navigator doesn't support CCS properly.

#6 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by paul <paul@flasher.net>

Friday October 2nd, 1998 12:49 AM

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Im really saddened by netscape's loss in the marketplace. I mean, these guys seem like they WANT to loose.

Have you seen their netcenter site? Why on earth do they not actively promote the download of netscape. It took me quite some time to study that page to find out where to click to get the netscape software??

Netscape HAS to get back to its roots - turn to the net for help. I have yet to see any effort on their part of ativily promoting mozilla. Why do they expect a site like this (good work by the way) has to do this evangelizing for them. Why is that microsoft has their entire company brainwashed to promote IE where they can, but Netscape shunts this?

As for NGLayout not going into 5.0, i think that is a BIG mistake. The whole world is curious as to how this whole 'lets drop the source code to world' will work for netscape. And when they learn 5.0 is an incremental improvement; ie. not really a net developed browser..the world will not be patient

no one will care when netscape 6.0 comes out...sure ill use it cause i dont want to use IE..but im a developer; of course i will/have to make an effor to keep up with the net. But joe shmoe will not

So make 5.0 the browser that REALLY wins the reviews...build a big campaign for it now...start banners and buttons to put on websites NOW...

Its too bad their short sightness has lead them to this point. Netscape still has a chance..but alas fate will once again kindly smile on MS.

#7 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Peter

Friday October 2nd, 1998 1:46 AM

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I have to agree totally with Paul regarding the Netscape's appalling absence of promotion for Navigator at Netcenter. What is going on in their heads? And as for thinking they're a contender in "Portal Wars" - Netcenter is a totally anaemic effort. MSN will wipe it. Here in Australia MSN has partnered with the major TV station and <http://www.ninemsn.com.au> is well on the way to becoming portal of choice because of it the investment in content.

#8 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by John Counts <jcounts@voicenet.com>

Friday October 2nd, 1998 1:48 AM

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I developed some pages using IE 4.0 on an intranet, because we were an all Windows shop it seemed natural.

Recently we introduced some Linux machines onto the net and I tried to rewrite the pages so that they would work in Netscape. But getting the pages to look and behave similarly in both browsers was impossible. There was no cursor:hand CSS tag to indicate a clickable link, no display:none, decoration:none didn't seem to work. Netscape seemed to use ID where IE used CLASS etc. So I gave up and started to rewrite the pages for Netscape. Even that failed miserably and Navigator kept GPFing so often I didn't get very far.

The point is not just to keep saying that netscape is as good as IE, the number of CSS tags it supports is only a small fraction of those IE supports. I't impelmentation of the DOM is quirky and less fluid than IE.

I really like the idea of open source software and I want to get rid of all of the Microsoft software at our site, but for the past year all of the applications I have written are written to run in the browser and I was really shocked that it was seemingly impossible to prot them from IE to Netscape.

Mozilla is a great project and I hope it gives us a browser so that we can dump IE, but I don't see any point in Netscape releasing another major version without a complete standards implementation at least for the DOM, CSS1 and Javascript.

I've thought for some time that the reason for Netscape's decline in market share is not Micorsoft's monopolistic tactics (although these are real), but rather the techincal inferiority of Navigator and the reluctance of developers to code against such an awkward unresponsive environment.

So I say stop blaming Micorosft, bite the bullet, throw out your layers and compromises and hold off releasing another major version until it meets the needs of developers in a standards-compliant way.

And thank you for your work on MozillaZine. It's great.

#9 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by George <beg1@netscape.net>

Friday October 2nd, 1998 10:07 AM

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Well, Netscape has said its the "portal wars" now, but do you really think Netscape doesn't care about the browser?

For about 2 years now, Netscape is been trying to tell people that they do sell other software. I think Netscape is just trying to convince people that browser isn't every thing.

As to the NGlayout...its nice and everything, but how come i haven't really heard of all the new features that might be in N5.0?

All i hear is that mozilla.org is working on getting CSS 100% compliant and that HTML4.0 works, ect...

some one please tell me they are working on other stuff??

#10 Re: Editorial: NGLayout... NS.... portal shmortal

by brian <elmo@innocent.com>

Saturday October 3rd, 1998 6:59 PM

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I have to agree with those who say say that Netscape is putting too much effort into this whole portal fad. From my point of view (as an end-user) portals are just like 'push' technology, the idea seems good in theory but I can't see it ever being successful enough to warrant all the money being invested in it by different groups.

When I browse the web, I go to specific sites relating to stuff I'm interested in (bodyboarding, programming etc.). I check the news at specific sites like /., beoscentral and even mozillaZine. If there's something I looking for which I haven't bookmarked (either in netscape or from memory) then I go to altavista and have a search, or very occasionally yahoo. I have specific interests and I have no use for a site which tries to group everything 'under the one roof'.

Maybe I'm an atypical web user but as far as I'm concerned, portals are a waste of time.

and now back to the actual topic of this article.....

#11 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by David Talbot <talbot@leapnet.com>

Monday October 5th, 1998 9:35 AM

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I've almost found the browser differances entertaining, to attempt to create a cross browser dynamic web site that doesn't break down to the "worst of both worlds" but takes crazy hacks and wild scripting.

It is not impossible to make kick ass pages that look right in both browsers, it just takes a good programmer with a creative eye. (and a few doument.writes) :)

Yes, I would support a later release date of NS5 if that means it would be a better browser. I'm one of those wierdos that thinks it's better to deliver something late than dysfunctional. NS5 without the NGLayout would be a grave error.

Bottom line, it would be great if it came out with NGLayout, otherwise it will be on the web developers to deal with it the way we always have, writing javascript hacks to make the browsers work together.

#12 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Chris Knoll <knoll@eclipse.net>

Wednesday October 7th, 1998 8:09 AM

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George, George, George. What are you thinking? Probalby the most important aspect of the browser for web applications (and that's really where the web is going) is that the browser supports a standard HTML spec which includes CSS and DOM! How can you say more features is better than non-standardized html support??? If NS decided not to support the standard spec, firstly, they'd be the biggest hypocrites on the face of the planets touting openness but not supporting the open standard. Secondly, Navigator whould completely disappear from corporate business (you know, where NS sells their server products...you know...where they try to make their money...you know, the stuff that PAYS THE BILLS!). Obviously you haven't done too much web development if you think that CSS and full support of HTML 4.0 and DOM isn't that important!

#13 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Chris Knoll <knoll@eclipse.net>

Wednesday October 7th, 1998 8:21 AM

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George, George, George. What are you thinking? Probalby the most important aspect of the browser for web applications (and that's really where the web is going) is that the browser supports a standard HTML spec which includes CSS and DOM! How can you say more features is better than non-standardized html support??? If NS decided not to support the standard spec, firstly, they'd be the biggest hypocrites on the face of the planets touting openness but not supporting the open standard. Secondly, Navigator whould completely disappear from corporate business (you know, where NS sells their server products...you know...where they try to make their money...you know, the stuff that PAYS THE BILLS!). Obviously you haven't done too much web development if you think that CSS and full support of HTML 4.0 and DOM isn't that important!

#14 Re:Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Truth

by Brian Hartman <bhartmana@scils.rutgers.edu>

Wednesday October 7th, 1998 9:27 PM

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I'm not a programmer, a developer, or anything like that. I'm an end user, and I use Communicator, dammit! I've been reading this CSS/NGLayout discussion with some interest, and I have a question: What exactly is the problem that this new layout engine is supposed to fix? I have yet to visit *any* web site that made Communicator 4.5 crash. I have yet to visit *any* web site that didn't display correctly in Communicator. About the only problem I've seen that I do think needs fixing is background locking. As far as CSS and such, I've gone to news.com, pcmag.com, etc., all of which seem to use style sheets, and they behave just like they're supposed to. Sometimes I think you developers want to add new features just for the sake of adding them. Please, spare us the bandwidth and stick to what works! As far as the portal goes: Yes, I think it's a shame that Netscape hasn't more aggressively marketed their browser. I can see why, though: If it's free, why aggressively market it? Where's the money in *that*? Netscape *is* a company, folks, and they're out for more than just popularity. They're out for moolah. :) All the reports I've read are that Netscape's portal is far and away a huge success. It's MS that is going to have to do the catching up, and from the reviews I've read of the new MSN site, they have a long way to go. Yes, it would be nice if Netscape supported HTML 4.0 and XML. It's always nice to see HTML expanded and strengthened. That *is* the language of the web, after all. (At least until XML catches on.) I realize it's a bit of a pain to develop for two browsers. But if you stick with basic CSS, Netscape should do you just fine. Let's not forget Jscript, MS's pathetic attempt at a Javascript rival, or ActiveX itself, which, I dare say I've seen nary a whimper of on the Net. (When was the last time you couldn't load a page in Netscape because it required Active X?) What these attacks against Netscape are really about I think are the fact that people want MS and NS to "bury the hatchet" and just comply with each other's technologies. Does anyone seriously think that's gonna happen, whether they adopt a "standard" or not? C'mon, people, think! If the browsers supported the same technologies, what would the difference be?? And *then* Netscape would be dead in the water. If you really want Netscape to be a contender in the market, don't fight against the company. Let the company adopt the "standards" at its own pace. Better a stable, svelte browser that behaves itself than a bloated, OS-consuming memory hog that crashes your system. A vanilla-flavored Web is *not* where I want to go today!

#15 Re: Editorial: NGLayout in Communicator 5.0 - Tru

by Andrew Zimmerman <zimmerma@hear.net>

Monday October 12th, 1998 10:30 AM

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I am a professional web developer and here's my take on your article. I won't go into the contradictions in your own article/opinion piece. And I am not flaming you or the developers of Mozilla at all. I do not speak for WSP nor am I a member.

First, I, and I think many web developers would agree, that Netscape needs to get its act together, especially with standards like CSS-1. Poeple claim they don't see much CSS in use. A prime reason is the buggy or incomplete use of CSS in Navigator 4. NS 4 supports roughly 55% of CSS-1. IE4 PC supports nearly 90%. Even on the Mac it supports about 85% of the spec. Yet, really basic CSS doesn't work in Navigator. So it comes down to a chicken or the egg approach. Is CSS not used because developers find it hard to develop for cross browser/platform or because people don't want to use it? I develop in a Navigator 4 environment and there's a ton of things I'd love to use but simply can't because of Navigator's flaky implementation of CSS.

I don't think it is so much a problem of wanting/demanding NGLayout in version 5. Developers want it ASAP. When Netscape releases Navigator 4.5 and the only changes over 4.0x are the "smart browsing" and tying the browser closer to Netcenter (a morass of a website that does nothing to support developers or make it easy to find info) that is seen as an insult to developers. Sure, Netscape may be making more money, but what about the developers? A "major" upgrade that doesn't actually fix any bugs or developer concerns? Sounds like a Microsoft approach to me.

I want Netscape and Navigator to prosper. Microsoft doesn't support open standards and IE5 is going into even more proprietary tech. But even so, their standards support are much closer to W3 specs than Netscape's efforts to date.

If Navigator doesn't want to become a fringe market browser (meaning being used by mac and unix users) they need to do something soon. I want NGLayout in version 5. But without Netscape supporting NGL in version 5 or even givng a release timeframe, people and developers wonder if Netscape will even be around. Netscape needs to convince developers and users their browser is relevent. Unfortunately, they have failed to do that for me. I am not advocating some Microsoft approach of announcing vaporware and I realize Netscape has neither the resources of MS nor the development turnaround time (especially with Open Source), but *something* needs to be done by Netscape to convince developers to stick to Netscape and I just don't see any direction at all.

While Netscape is to be applauded at the moves it has done in order to restructure its core business model, its going to have to do a lot more on the developers side to convince web developers to stick with Netscape Navigator. I find IE4 on my Mac consumes less resources, crashes less, and handles specs much more efficiently than the elder Netscape 4. I won't speak about the PC platform, but can you give me a *practical* reason why I should stick with Netscape 5 without NGL?

Make a Navigator 4.7 release and put all the current improvements in it and keep NGL on track for 5.0, but most importantly, give developers the tools they ask for and stick to specs (I'm not against innovation unless it conflicts with standards). At least do a better job of promoting Navigator and its features. Its been 18 months since NS4 was unleashed. People won't wait another 18 months for Navigator 6. Its sad and its true.

Respectfully, AZ