MozillaZine

Weekend Discussion

Friday June 30th, 2000

The weekend discussion returns, with a simple question:

What's your impression of Mozilla's status at this point? Progressing nicely? Faltering? Are you using Mozilla? If not, what needs to be changed before you start using it full time? Try to be specific, and offer constructive criticism and advice. It would be nice if the Mozilla developers could gather some useful information from the discussion. If you haven't tried out a recent nightly build, take one for a spin before you comment.


#67 Opinions From a Potential Major Corporate User...

by TonyG <tony.gorman@blueyonder.co.Yuk>

Saturday July 1st, 2000 2:09 PM

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Hi. I work for a Major US based Merchant bank as Senior Developer within the Technology side of the business. One of our remits it to provide architecture and strategy direction for the whole of Europe, Middle East and Africa. This includes deciding on the web browser installed on thousands and thousands of workstations.

Currently the business supports Netscape 4.08+ and IE 4.01+. Both browsers are old now and major upgrades are desparately needed.

On Friday the 30th of June I was asked a simple question. " Is Netscape 6 ready to go because we can package it up for an SMS drop in the next few weeks, on all the PCs in the regions."

It would have been irresponsible of me to have said anything other than "its not ready".

Right, now I'm gonna let of some steam here as I have kept it to myself for YEARS. I have been doing my best to block the clamouring hoards calling for the business to totally scrap Netscape and move to a single browser base using - you guessed it - IE5. I tell you, it is getting harder and harder every day to convince people that IE5 only is not a good thing.

Ok steam off, constructive remarks.

First and foremost, we absolutely , absolutely MUST get an accetable, released browser out in the world. Not a Netscape-rushed-to-market but-full-of-holes browser but a stable, fast lean, mean killer. Statement of the obvious? Maybe, but it needs to be a mantra. This browser is taking years to come out. If this pace is maintained, have the standards that Gecko supports will have been superceded. No one can hand on heart disagree with that. I know all the reasons for it up to now as I have been a devoted Netscape advocate - and latterly Mozilla advocate - since the source code was released.

I will leave others to elaborate on the problems with Mail and Composer. It is the browser that is crucial to me.

The UI is too rough. If the suits in Netscape think this is gonna do anything other than drive away potential users then perhaps it is time Netsape gave up the ghost and became an entry in the history books. It is slow to load, buggy as a buggy thing and devoid of any of the features most users take for granted. If you want to know what these features are then get IE5 on win32 and look at its interface. That is what you need. Nice to see Ben Goodger is using the IE style forward/back buttons in the classic skin.

A memory footprint the size of king Kong and a ridiculously slow load time needs to be resolved. Gecko used to load like a flash and it used to run fine on low spec PCs. Now it needs shed loads of RAM and CPU speed to run at something approximating NS4+ speeds. NS4 is years old. Moz/NS6 has to run faster than it as a minimum entry point.

The rendering engine has also slowed down a great deal. Pages used to snap in like lightning. Now they take longer.

Bookmarks are often unstable. I personally believe the layout model and feature spec is spot on. What is wrong is that it is slow to reflow and often half the options dont work.

XSLT is something as a developer I would love to see but as a user I can live without. However, I guess the superb work being done to get Transformix into PR2 or Moz 1.0 is running concurrently so it makes sense to go for it.

Basically I believe the feature list required of a 21st century browser is largely in place within Mozila but it needs a lot of polishing and a few additions based on what IE4-5 offers. Specifically I am thinking of coolbars/customisable toolbars, a decent history browser, good print support, full screen mode and tighter integration with other desktop packages.

The great work done by Adam Locke to get ActiveX support into Mozilla is a move in the right direction. Mozilla needs to at least be able to load the likes of Excel or Word in a browser window as Netscape 4 can partially do.

The forward/back buttons need to be totally and consistently co-ordinated with the location box and history.

Auto complete for URLs is here now but it doesnt always allow work properly. It has never been linked to history as it currently only seems to auto complete addresses entered in the current session. Cosmetically I think it have a drop down portion that is always the same width as the text field used for locations. It is coming along though.

Auto proxy is a must for me. I haven't been able to use Mozilla nightlies for over a week when in work because this is broken. It has worked in the past so hopefully it will be fixed permanently.

Sorry if this is down beat. On a more positive note I believe Mozilla has the potential to rock the internet. Developpers are dying for a styandards compliant browser and Moz is the leader. Just get it out before MS do what they do best and steal your thunder...