Netscape 7.0 Preview Release 1

Wednesday May 22nd, 2002

Netscape today unveiled Netscape 7.0 Preview Release 1, the first beta of its successor to Netscape 6. The preview is based on the recent Mozilla 1.0 RC2 build and features most of the enhancements that have been added to Mozilla since Netscape 6.2 was released, including tabbed browsing, print preview, the ability to save complete web pages, email return receipts, message labels and S/MIME support.

Netscape's proprietary components have also been improved. An enhanced Instant Messenger now supports file transfers, buddy icons and communication with ICQ users (though you cannot be signed on to both AIM and ICQ at the same time). Also new is Radio@Netscape, a streaming audio service powered by Spinner.

Netscape 7.0 Preview Release 1 is available from Netscape's web site or FTP server. Marketing spiel can be found at the Netscape 7.0 Info Center.

#139 Modern is default, as it should be

by jonadab <>

Wednesday May 29th, 2002 11:38 AM

You are replying to this message

> I'm kind of surprised that the modern theme is the default.

This is not new. Modern has been the default since the preview release for 6.0 (way back in the days when milestones started with M and you still called them "SeaMonkey", if you remember that; IE was still a load of, erm, stuff, I think, is the polite term, and Netscape 4.x was still the best browser available, unless you wanted to pay for Opera (which still cost money back then). (And before I get snide comments from the old timers, yes, I _do_ remember using Mosaic, but that was another era.)

Modern _should_ be the default, _unless_ the installer detects that the colour depth is lower than 16-bit, in which case the installer should set it to Classic, because Modern just doesn't look right in 256-colour mode. (No decent looking theme would.) (Though, in truth, modern feature-rich browsers are probably all too heavyweight in terms of resource consumption (mainly RAM) to comfortably run on most systems old enough to be running at 256 colours or less, so the theme issue may be moot in such cases.)

And whoever said "Classic looks like poo" was basically right, though I would have phrased it differently. Classic is designed to give the warm fuzzies to people who used to use Netscape 4.x. But Netscape 7.x is aiming to compete with _modern_ browsers, and Modern just looks a whole lot better. People who want the old look can always switch themes. They're more likely to know *how* to switch themes than people who wouldn't like Classic. Which brings forth an important design principle: the defaults should always cater to users who are unlikely to know how to change the defaults. The options in the preferences, however, should always cater toward people who know how to get into the prefs dialogs and change the settings around. Because the experience of end users (who are afraid to change prefs or don't know how) is governed by the defaults, but the experience of power users (who know how to change prefs) is not; they will customise the settings, if you let them, and will be pleased with their ability to do so, which improves their experience.

I would like to see a couple of additional themes ship with NS7, but it's not a big deal, as long as there's a good selection at the theme park. Most of the ones at xulplanet/deskmod will work with NS7 (though xulplanet claims they only work with RC1, they work with subsequent branch builds just fine) except for the proprietary extensions. (So, for example, you can install the Pinball theme, but your Netscape Radio button will have a regular bookmark icon instead of a music note, and similarly for the other extra addons.) So any that Netscape can get the permissions for (or that are GPLed) they should be able to relatively easily fix up with a handful of extra icons for the proprietary extras and put up on the theme park at least. Currently (last time I checked, this morning) there's nothing there yet.