Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

Monday September 21st, 1998

George Giannukos writes in with an interesting question:

"I remember those days when Netscape's servers would be overwhelmed with traffic of people trying to get their copy of the newest most popular application on the net.

Nowadays you see Netscape doing all these little updates with small enhancements...

So I guess my question is, 'Why is this happening and do ya'll think Netscape 5.0 will stop this trend?'"

#1 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by George Giannukos

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 2:52 PM

here are some cool features i would like to see in N5.0


I think to get people excited Netscape needs to drop the apps people dont want (AOLIM, composer, ect..) and add a download manager, better FTP support, stability, speed. I for one would like to see Netscape split all their apps into different programs and allow you to chose whether you want to download Messenger or Composer instead of being forced to download it.

I think surfing an FTP should look and feel the same way it does when you surf though your computer. So you would open and close windows in a daughter window inside the Netscape browser? Also Netscape should ask AOL to see if they can boundled ICQ with Netscape and maybe integrate it…

Here are some ideas I have for ICQ. Netscape redo the interface and give it a more slick interface. Second add voice communications and third integrate ICQ with Navigator. An idea I have is say when you goto a site you could hit the "N" button in the top-right hand corner and it will drop down and tell you everyone else viewing that page in real-time. You could also join a chat room or msg people. 1.) this would give Netscape an advantage in that only a ICQ/Netscape program could join the chat room and icq would be lots better integrated. This would be just one more reason to use Netscape instead of IE. Anyways, Microsoft is making their own instant messenger program that will probably suck, which no one will use. 2.) Also everyone knows the mailto:emailaddress…..Maybe Netscape could add icqto:UIN# and then you clicked on it, it would open icq…

I guess webmasters would have to put some sort of Java or CGI to keep track of all the users on the site so people could talk and see who else is interested in the same stuff in real-time…

oh, ya could NN use MMX any way? Maybe to load java faster or open up faster? I guess if you dont like ICQ then you probably didn't like some of my ideas, oh, well...

what do ya’ll think? I think those are features that could get people excited? Any other ideas?

#2 features to entice users again...

by Tumbleweed

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 4:17 PM

If you want a great browser, you need to start with the new standards:

DOM support CSS (level 2?) XML (as much of it as is ready, anyway)

You also need to fix the stuff that's been broken forever. Table handling is horrible. And frames (shudder) - they're in awful shape. Navigator can't even display the correct framewidth! There's also the issue with the weird default values for attributes that aren't required to be specified. (valign should default to TOP - hspace & vspace should default to 0!)

Compatability - howzabout making 'topmargin' and 'leftmargin' equivalents in the BODY tag so that all those pages 'optimized for Internet Explorer' will automatically start working well in Netscape (withOUT having to be rewritten to use CSS, etc).

And then there's the whole issue with using other apps with the standalone Navigator - it shouldn't disable your mailto: links if you're using the standalone Navigator - it should use the system-registered email application, no matter what it is. That whole idea was just plain idiotic, and smacks of an MS-like control fixation.

Being able to disable background sounds would be nice, too! And I'd really love to be able to completely configure all the toolbars on my browser, *completely*. Why in the world do I need a 'search' button on my toolbar when it doesn't go to the search engine I want it to? And let's get rid of that silly 'My Netscape' button!

And how about floating frames support? That's been missing for a long time. I don't care if MS did come up with it - it's a good idea.

The problem is that MS saw that Netscape had some good ideas, and then decided to implement them along with some of their own. Granted, MS's implementation leaves an enormous amount to be desired, but Netscape apparently didn't implement the good ideas that MS had. (topmargin and leftmargin attributes have been in IE since version *2.0*!). Here's a little tip - start with the feature set of your competitor, THEN continue adding. Only then will you have a true competitor, and only then will you have people clamoring to get your product.

#3 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by Jason Kersey

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 4:57 PM

WOW! Lots of stuff to improve and whatnot. Both of you really should check out the status updates page and other items on, while this is heavy on the developer end, lots of the stuff has been fixed. As far as requests for standards and other items, you should definatly check out binaries of 5.0 and of NGLayout, as there is an incredable difference between them and 4.0.

#4 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by Joe Drew

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 6:28 PM

As for configurable toolbars, look at the URL - this defines the 'chrome' spec of Netscape, completely configurable toolbars, and, indeed, 'look-and-feel' to a great deal. There should also be skins support. Not bad, eh?

#5 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by Steve Parkinson

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 7:37 PM

Netscape went back to create a browser-only version of communicator - known internally as 'ratbert'. I can only assume that it's not worth the effort to do this. Also remember that Messenger still forms part of the deal for most of the enterprise contracts Netscape deal with. You pretty much get composer for free when you get Messenger, since messenger needs to edit HTML mail, and the advantages are enormous.

When started, the understanding was that if people wanted to make browsers for specific tasks, then that would probably happen. Personally, I'm a little surprised that no-one has customized mozilla for porn viewing (I'm serious) - think of all you could do - stop those pop-up windows, midi files, redirects, manage accounts and passwords, etc. Netscape's focus for Communicator - for the corporate customer (e.g. LDAP, IMAP, CSS), are very different from the average user (dialup, performance) so you have to expect features like LDAP to be in the product - you can't just say 'get rid of it - it's useless'

Tumbleweed - you should be filing bugs and providing test cases - look at the site. Genuinely, if they are really bugs in tables layout, and you can demonstrate them, they stand a high chance of getting fixed. Go find the module owners for 'layout' and send them an email with some examples.

Lastly, you should check out the latest builds - I think you'll be impressed!

#6 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by Joel Caris

Tuesday September 22nd, 1998 10:37 PM

I agree that it is very important for Netscape to support the new standards. And from what I understand, NGLayout does. However, I also hear that NGLayout simply isn't going to be ready for the 5.0 release. While I certainly hope they manage to get NGLayout into 5.0, I am not counting on it.

So my question is, what is going on with Mariner? If NGLayout does not make it into 5.0, does anyone know what improvements we are going to see in the current layout engine, Mariner? How is XML, CSS, and DHTML support? Will it better conform to the new standards? And will it be faster?

This is an area where Netscape has fallen behind and desperately needs to regain the lead.

Joel Caris

#7 Re:

by Erik Arvidsson

Wednesday September 23rd, 1998 4:59 AM

What! Isn't NGLayout going to be used in Mozilla 5? If it is going to use the old layout engine there is actully no nedd to release it. This is the main advantage IE has over NN.

And by the way. Netscape CSS really sucks. As a developer I can't stand designing for netscape because it just won't work as supposed. FIX CSS!!!

p.s. Maybe I didn't get that about the layout engine but the one used in NN2+ is the worst I've ever seen (maybe not). Have you tried to disconnect and then resized your browser window?

#8 Re:Whatever Happened to the Netscape Hype?

by Steve Parkinson

Wednesday September 23rd, 1998 1:52 PM

Putting NGLayout in Mozilla 5 is perceived as 'too much risk'. We need to get a great browser out the door, and if NGLayout integration is going to add months of instability, it's not going to work. Maybe '5.1'

Improvements to current layout are substantial. This is what's going to be in 5.0 when its released, and it's what's in mozilla now when you download it. Here are the more visible features: 1) When you resize, the HTML gets 'reflowed' continuously. When you stop resizing, it doesn't refetch the page from the cache or network, and it doesn't reparse the HTML. 2) It no longer blocks on images. It just re-flows when the images start coming in. 3) Tables in general are used an awful lot to layout web pages. Nested tables suck in communicator, but now they are very fast.

#9 Re:

by Dave Greten

Sunday September 27th, 1998 3:11 PM

When I view the source code of a page in IE 4.0, it automatically loads notepad to read the source. Then, I can select "Word Wrap" to read the source normally and modify the text.

Netscape would really win me back if this feature was available in Netscape Navigator. I need this feature, it was the reason I switch over to IE 4.0 so often.

The Netscape "view source" reader is awkward without text processing capabilities. It presents HTML text as difficult to read (w/o linebreaks) and cannot be modified and changed.

Alright, that's my two cents for what it is worth. Good luck and long live open source.