Full Article Attached What Netscape Needs to Succeed

Monday October 26th, 1998

This week's editorial touches on four possible strategies Netscape could use to recover lost ground. I believe it is possible, but it won't happen without some serious introspection. Click Full Article to read more.

Update: Some of my opinion has come to fruition today, as you will see when you read the article...

#1 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by shepard

Monday October 26th, 1998 7:18 PM

Interesting suggestions. However, even given that Netscape has far from a monopoly in the browser market, wouldn't integrating certain portions of the portal (images and such) into Mozilla cause much the same hullabaloo that MS is undergoing now? Perhaps the capability should be opened up for other portals to take advantage of this, but it defaults to Netscape (and Netscape would have access to this technology before it hit mainstream) on install..?

#2 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by George

Monday October 26th, 1998 7:59 PM

shepard, i have thought about that.

but look at it this way...Netscape lets you change your home page or the default site..

Microsoft doesn't let OEMs change the start up screen in Win98.

Also Netscape doesn't make Communicator crash when you goto or, but Microsoft made Win3.1 crash when you used DR-DOS, and i bet they have made Netscape crash in Win95/98

Atlest Netscape plays fairly...

#3 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Jason Kersey

Monday October 26th, 1998 8:03 PM

Hmm. I think it is along the lines of, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I have to agree with all of this.

#4 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Ziv Barber

Monday October 26th, 1998 9:47 PM

I'm going to start documenting the Netscape source code and I need help for all of you. What I'm trying to do is something like the group that documented the OS/2 API interface or the Linux Documenting project.

#5 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Sandeep Hundal

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 5:28 AM

Some nice points here. I liked the editorial a lot. Though I'm not sure about the Apache point. Sure, IBm's bundled it and ofcourse half the web uses Apache and its opensource. But Netscape has its own Enterprise Server market to protect too you know... By giving more support to Apache, they'll be giving out mixed messages to their won customers. I say they should intergrate NC more with their own products and a bit with Apache, making their position clear.

#6 Re:Apache

by Andrew Mashchak

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 10:01 AM

Netscape does have a server market to protect. However, what is it about Netscape's Servers that is appealing? Everything that Apache doesn't have. Intuitive graphical server management, integration with things like Directory Server, Netscape ONE, ORB, Javascript development tools, etc... If Netscape can provide these things for the most popular web server out there, Apache, a very strong market foothold can be gained. By creating Apache modules which provide such things and selling a bundled package with support, Netscape can make inroads into the Apache server market and at the same time increase integration between Mozilla and Apache.

#7 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by arielb

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 10:32 AM

The linux people already know what their stake in Mozilla is all about. They know this means either a victory or defeat of open source. So I would disagree with the article and say that Netscape needs to target the _Windows_ programmers and show them why Mozilla is worth their while.

#8 netcenter themes

by arielb

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 10:37 AM

at minimum: 1) Allow to change the background 2) Allow to change the font characteristics 3) use all capabilities of Mozilla 5

#9 How to make persistently-cached graphics

by Matthew Miller

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 12:02 PM

1. Have user download and install graphics-pack on local HD.

2. Set a cookie saying where the graphics are located.

3. When generating page, check for existence of cookie, and if it exists, set IMG SRC tags to point to local files.

#10 What Netscape Really Needs to Succeed

by tumbleweed

Tuesday October 27th, 1998 4:29 PM

What Netscape *really* needs to succeed WITH NAVIGATOR (I'm not talking about the company as a whole, just with the whole Communicator/Navigator situation), is to first: figure out what the customers really want. I don't think that's ever been done at Netscape.

When people complain about browsers, they almost always complain about stability, speed, and what enormous resources they need to install and run.

The average user couldn't explain why IE is vastly superior ON PAPER to anyone, yet they can easily compare browsers by which one runs faster, crashes less, or which one simply refuses to install on their old Macintosh.

The new Navigator will solve all (?) the technical inadequacies by adding HTML 4, DOM, XML, and improving CSS. And the massive open source effort should definitely alleviate the stability & speed problems.

As far as the resource requirements go - that's a matter probably best solved by making different versions of the browser available (still no standalone of v4.5, huh? *frown*). I can't help but wonder where we'd be now if the concentration on the unified front-end and the NGLayout engine had been the priority from the start of the whole effort, but oh well, better late than never. And better a late release than yet another browser incorporating new features people don't want that & that doesn't fix bugs that have been present since pre-1.0 (like what happened with v4.5).

Never let it be said I didn't have an opinion! :)

#11 Re: What Netscape Really Needs to Succeed

by Guy Murphy

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 11:31 AM

From my perspective as a Web Developer, the single biggest lacking of NS4.x is it's difficulty (compared to IE4) to rerender the page after the document loading.

For this reason alone, for dHTML IE4 is a more atractive development prospect. And as somebody who develops largely for large intranets, where migration to IE4 is often viable... so NS4.x just gets dropped.

What NS needs to do is make hacking up a document after it's loaded in NS4.x as easy as in IE4.

#12 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by MozillaZine Admin

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 12:30 PM


That functionality is currently in Mozilla and NGLayout. Remember, at the time of the release of Communicator 4 and IE4, there was no standard DOM spec. Microsoft already had in place technology that allowed the reflow of a page as new info came in (that's what allowed them to display a page's content early when images on the page lacked "height" and "width" attributes). They were able to leverage this technology to claim a lead in standards implementation (even though no DOM spec had been ratified).

If you were coding in DHTML for 4.0 browsers before the beginning of October of this year (when the DOM Level 1 spec was ratified), you should not fault Netscape for it's lack of incremental reflow. If you wanted compatibility based on standards, you should not have used DOM to accomplish it. Now that DOM has been recommended as a standard, you can hold the next generation browsers accountable to the spec. NGLayout should be more than able to appease your DHTML needs when it is finished.

#13 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Henrik

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 2:55 PM

your ideas are all good, but ...

1. I dont't know how much effect a new color would do, but that could be my lack of marketing knowlegde so nevermind

2.the idea of letting netscape store a complete image and script library used by netcenter locally, is a good idea if implemented properly and that is userselectable and openly avalible to other sites.(so we don't look like M$)

A danish ISP has actually done this a long time ago, they bundled their Connection with a CD containing alle the static stuff, and let use select on the website wether the CD is in the drive.

3.The idea of concentrating on linux is a good idea, but we should watch out that we in that effort does not forget the windows platform as it is there the userbase is (at least the newbie userbase). A better idea as arielb stated is to catch the windows programmers, and perhaps make it easy to extend mozilla in java, 'cos i think many hobby-developers will use java, and that is whats being tought (at least at my school) when we are to learn OO programming

What netscape needs the most is standard compliance and as upto date on that point as posible.

When i wrote in a danish NG about netscape 4.5 and told all about the wonderful new features, the main responses was:

1. They doesn't write anything about what they updated on the html and css front.all the fancy stuff doesn't matter

2. does it handle multiple pop3 account in one userprofile yet ??

cheers from denmark henrik

#14 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Jim

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 3:09 PM

I don't know about you guys, but I would shoot my marketing team if they were putting out ads like what I've seen so far in magazines like Business Week.

I believe that more specific goals need to be set into place in their marketing strategy. There are no forceful themes or tones in any of the paper ads that I've seen, nor have they actually been very eye-catching.

The monochrome scheme does not seem to help either. Personally, I think it reflects the stale, unaggressive type of marketing that has been going on recently.

You might have the best product in the market, but if you don't make consumers believe it, then it's worth less than nothing (considering all the time, manpower, and money spent developing it.

#15 What Netscape Really Needs to Succeed

by tumbleweed

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 3:20 PM

Navigator not having incremental reflow and an all-encompassing document object model (whether it was the official DOM spec or not was not my point) in version 4.0 was almost unforgivable. It's not like noone knew what MS was up to with their v4.0 browser. That's the one good thing about all the preannouncing that MS does - you generally know some of what they're up to. And implementing crappy CSS1 support was a *really* bad move. I can see not implementing something, or not completely implementing something, but implementing it that badly is Not Good (tm)! Not that IE 4.0's CSS is perfect (far from it), but it's not anywhere near as bad as Navigator 4's.

It's a 'vision' thing. Netscape had it in the early days, but lost it until the Open Source (tm) decision. And I could make a pretty good argument they still have major problems (witness version 4.5 of Communicator).

#16 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by MozillaZine Admin

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 3:40 PM

Imagine this as a TV advert for the "newly revamped Netcenter":

A soft wind is heard blowing through fall trees. The camera is panning left over some beautiful fall foliage... pans down onto a sharply dressed gentleman sitting in front of a quaint Italian cafe. He's sitting, sipping coffee, looking at his laptop.

Voiceover (in Italian w/subtitles): "I love my laptop. I love computers, the Internet...but Oh, I hate...what do you call it?... (In spoken, accented English now):sys-tem gray."

Cut to his laptop's screen... his browser's chrome has been tastefully customized and looks like it could have sprung from a Renaissance painting. His "My Netscape" screen looks like the fall scene he is participating in. The camera cuts to different views of the screen as he works, then cuts to a shot looking over his shoulder at the screen, and pans up to the tress as the voiceover says:

"Netscape Communicator Five and the new Netscape Netcenter. The most _sophisticated_ browser money can't buy. Download it free now, at"


This would be one of a series of spots that focused on different aspects of the Communicator 5.0 release. Others would focus on standards compliance, speed, etc.


#17 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by George

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 6:40 PM

If M$ loses the case, one thing is for sure...

M$ will be forced to bundle Communicator with every copy of Windows, giving people the choice of IE or NC.

Microsoft will not see the point to keep making IE, when Communicator does just as good as job and is open source!! What's the point to spend money to develop IE when M$ has to bundle Communicator and it does just as good as job?

any one else think this is what will happen?

#18 on Netscape's UI Decisions...

by SuperSamat

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 8:29 PM

Now that was a GOOD article! It addresses all the exact reasons why Netscape seems not to be going anywhere.

The stuff on the user interface is a first I've seen. Personally, the interface for Netscape for Windows looks like a rejection from Microsoft's UI Department (and Opera... haha that UI looks like a reject from NS). Netscape for Linux is a different case... MSIE's interface is extremely snazzy, but is attached to IE, which I extremely dislike. Somehow... Netscape's UI uses less memory, looks more complicated, and looks MUCH worse. And onto my rants on Netcenter... The thing, functionally, is the best thing since Yahoo. But, gees, the graphics, and organization.. IT'S HORRIBLE! Nested tables (ew), more annoying blue-gray graphics, it's sickening.

So.. my most fave thing that I'd want in NS5 for Windows next to better stability, is some type of version of Chrome, customizable interface. Paradise!

#19 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Jim

Wednesday October 28th, 1998 10:56 PM

In response to George's comment, if they didn't continue to develop IE, they would have to take a different direction with their OS, seeing as how they've integrated IE into the system.

Either way, people would have a choice. As much as I support Netscape, I also support the consumers' right to choose what they want and not what a single company thinks they want.

#20 Re:

by Erik

Friday October 30th, 1998 7:32 AM

Answer to George's post:

M$ will not stop developing IE until they stop developing software. As M$ has said, IE is not just a browser, it is a layout engine usde in all new M$ programs. This is really obvious in Outlook and even more so in the upcoming office suit Office 2000. If you have looked at NT5 (hrm.. Windows 2000) you can see how they use it for various system applications.

Just a thought, and by the way we NEED two big browsers to push the browser development forward (could be Opera though :-)

#21 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by george

Friday October 30th, 1998 5:06 PM

So now office 2000 will be using IE?? many different monopoly does Microsoft have to use to gain more IE market share?

#22 Sucess w/o finger pointing

by Lycan

Monday November 2nd, 1998 8:03 AM

To suceed in any business venture there is only one thing that has to be kept in mind.

"Be better that the rest."

Personaly I dropped HTML development for NS in favor of IE for two main reasons. NS4 crashed within 5 minutes of installing it and the lack of documentation for any new HTML features. It was a poor decision to go live with 4 at that time. With a publicly contributed OS such as Linux I have had less problems.

So the answer is to Inovate, Test, Test, Test, Test and of course Test.

Rebuild the Browser as IE has, Make the HTML rendering module as a ActiveX control, then at least you can burrow into the AOL market where NS is a mere memory.

Standards, Standards, Standards. NS was on the forfront of creating standards, then all of a sudden, it seemed like NS wasn't there, or didn't care. Now it's catch-up time.

On the small thread of finger pointing, correct me if I am wrong, but the last time I checked, MS would let anyone "RENT" their OS for an indeffinate amount of time. Doesn't that mean that there is a good oppurtunity to test and develope on that platform? ;)

Success is measured by acheivements. Time to be better than the rest.


#23 Re:What Netscape Needs to Succeed

by Guy Honore

Saturday November 7th, 1998 9:38 PM

Netscape needs to execute its strategies well on several fronts to succeed:

1. Technically: all the nice DHTML features mentioned by tumbleweed above, plus "keeping up with Bill" features like 'behaviors', transition filters, dynamic binding, embedded rendering, etc.

2. Leverage the Mozilla "open-source" philosophy to solicit user and developer suggestions to improve the product in current and future versions. I propose a Features Wanted link on the mozilla site to "involve" the user and developer community. This should be in wide open HTML space, not buried in some arcane newsgroup thread. Users should vote on submitted ideas, to come up with a "top-20" list. Netscape should pay close attention to the results...

3. Marketing - take some pages from Microsoft's play book:

a. Sign up key ISP's (ATT first) in cross-advertising their services on NetCenter, in exchange for prominent placement of Netscape's browser in their home pages. Key in on high speed access providers like At-Home, Road Runner, etc.

b. Same as a, but this time go after content providers and search engines like CNET, Yahoo, Disney, news media sites, etc. Offer them an "accessories kit" that uses enhanced Netscape features for customized content.

c. same as a, but this time go after all "non-Microsoft-threatened" computer resellers or makers, such as CompUSA, Linux RedHat, Sun, IBM, Best Buy, etc.

d. stress the features Netscape has that Microsoft either doesn't support or has compromised:

- Real Networks multimedia! - 100% Pure Java! - RDF support! - Source code customizability!

These typically will be areas that compete with proprietary (religious) technologies, so use it to Netscape's advantage!!