Neoplanet Debuts Tech Demo with Gecko!

Thursday April 15th, 1999

Here's some good news for all of you out there worrying 'bout Moz. Neoplanet, which in the past has used IE's ActiveX HTML rendering control to create new browser interfaces for IE, is doing the same for Mozilla. They have a new technology preview for Windows users that allows you to switch between Mozilla and IE renderers in the same browser interface. It's still buggy (as Mozilla is still buggy), and they seem to be using a rendering engine from a while back, but it's an interesting development that signals Mozilla's entrance into an area once exclusively owned by MS.

In addition, Neoplanet is hiring 4 full-time coders to help with the Mozilla project.

I question a few statements in the CNet article announcing this new release.

First, "Its [Neoplanet's] first contribution will be an ActiveX wrapper for Mozilla, which will enable the browser to run ActiveX controls." I may be wrong, but I thought that ActiveX wrapper allowed Mozilla to be used as an ActiveX control itself. Adam Lock is already working on that (we have screenshots of two Mozilla ActiveX controls running in IE on our screenshots page).

If they are talking about building support for ActiveX into the layout engine of Mozilla, my question would be "Why?"

Paul states,

"Mozilla has been stymied by its inability to turn around a usable browser in more than a year of working on the released code.

Part of Mozilla's troubles have had to do with a lack of outside developer contributions. Contrary to the group's hopes, the lion's share of the Mozilla work is still done by Netscape/AOL engineers."

Paul's point is clear: Mozilla hasn't been released because third-party coders aren't picking up the slack. Even the most casual observer knows that Mozilla's pushed-back release date is due to their moving to an entirely new rendering engine for not only the HTML renderer, but for the UI as well. Sure, there are places for coders to step in and help fill gaps, but all the essential coding is getting done. It just takes time, and you could throw a thousand coders at it and it wouldn't get done significantly faster. Features that may be put off until a future release may make it in, but the core browser development is moving as quickly as it can under the circumstances. Methinks that the mainstream press is relying too much on Jamie Z's words. But, as one developer stated recently, "Let's not talk about him. He's irrelevant to us now."

Thanks to basic and kovu for the news.

#8 Re:Neoplanet Debuts Tech Demo with Gecko!

by stephan <>

Thursday April 15th, 1999 10:44 AM

You are replying to this message

I think we should really appreciate NeoPlanet's efforts. It could help tremendously.

Netscape 5 wont be out for some time yet, and NeoPlanet 5.0 will allow users to use the Mozilla rendering engine a lot earlier (May). Despite the Active-X dispute (I think this relies on a misunderstanding, I don't think NeoPlanet wants to claim credit for the ActiveX wrapper) NeoPlanet will offer a real browser we can point at and say "hey, Mozilla is the best implementation of web standards in any *shipping* browser". It will also make it a lot easier for us web developers to start designing pages for Netscape 5 without having to experience the tons of bugs that we have become so familiar with when using Apprunner.

I have to admit using IE5 - because running Netscape 4 on a P-133 is really a waste of time - and, let's face it - Netscape 4's CSS support sucks. I look forward to using a standards-based Mozilla browser. If that means using NeoPlanet for a while, I will.

Let's back Neoplanet to make sure Netscape fans can get a better alternative to 4.51 and 4.08. It might help stop people from using IE5 as well. And perhaps most important - we would get rid of the 'not there' and 'I wont believe it before I see it' arguments.