Netscape's Plans for M14 and Beyond

Monday February 7th, 2000

Cmad writes, "Want to know more about Netscape's release plan? Another interesting article has been posted on that matter by Jim A. Roskind in the SeaMonkey newsgroup."

If the link above doesn't work for you, try this link.

Jim goes into detail about what Netscape is expecting to do with M14 - it could turn into an alpha Netscape product, a beta product, or, worst case, they might end up holding off to M15 for a branded version. They're expecting that M16 will be feature complete (presumably the skin-switching code and security module will be in by that time, too).

Beyond the obvious performance issues, I think Netscape should really try to address the usability issues with the current skin if they are looking to push out a beta product. For example, the toolbar buttons should be labeled, and the buttons themselves should not extend over the grey space below the main toolbar -- it looks like an unintended effect (or defect).

What do you think? Post your thoughts and ideas in the forum for this news item, but since this has been a contentious issue in the past, I'm asking that you please keep your post civil.


#16 You assume it is a mistake

by mozineAdmin

Monday February 7th, 2000 3:04 PM

You are replying to this message

You've made the assumption that these issues haven't already been dealt with. They have been -- over a year ago. Simply put, you're a little late to the party. If this is the direction you think Mozilla should go, then you need to fork the tree and start a new project.

To paraphrase a developer in the .ui newsgroup, for Mozilla to go back to native widgets now would essentially mean you would have Mozilla development on Windows only. They just wouldn't have the resources for anything else. It would also mean that you lose the extensibility and cross-platform nature of Mozilla that is its very reason for being.

Mozilla will come with an ActiveX control for HTML rendering. If Windows users are so distraught over the skinnable interface, someone will come along to create a Communicator clone using VB and the control. It wouldn't be a trivial task, but it would be far from impossible for someone to do something similar for the Mac.

Mozilla is not Communicator (although the new Communicator will be of Mozilla). Think of Mozilla as akin to Java except with a more focused goal set. Think of it as not just a displayer of Web-standardized documents, but a creature born of those same standards. I think it's safe to say that Mozilla isn't a web browser anymore. It's much more than that. A correct focus would be to say, "How can we better define Mozilla, so that people understand this?" Netscape is going to have to wrestle with this issue themselves. But I think that it can be made understandable, and it will be accepted, especially when a user's platform starts getting applications that would have previously been developed solely for Windows.

BTW, I have seen a breakdown of the Aqua interface, and I must say it's the most confounding thing I've seen in a long time. Who benefits from a genie effect as an app swirls out of its place in the launchbar? Who benefits from translucent panes in which the content underneath shows through? Who benefits from gumdrop buttons with no indication of use *until you roll over them*? Everything I mentioned above is just superfluous fluff that gets in the way of usability. (For what reasons? Certainly not aesthetic!) Personally, I'd like to know how the Mac community can _possibly_ tolerate such a radical departure in their user interface, or the fact that their default and only UI now looks like it's been squeezed out of a tube in the Candyland factory. I'd be mortified. If they can tolerate that, methinks they can tolerate Mozilla.