Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last - HTML with Style | 5 | WebReference

Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last - HTML with Style | 5


Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last

A Browser for the Few of Us

Netscape 6 is about more than good standards support. If you found a problem in IE5.5, all you could really do is cross your fingers and hope Microsoft decides to fix it in the next version. Maybe you'll send them an e-mail and hope that someone notices and puts at the bottom of someone else's to-do list. But with Netscape, if you find a problem, you can just stroll over to BugZilla and report it. If you can code, you can fix it yourself, and if you can't or won't, somebody else will, sooner or later. And you can be pretty confident that the problem will be fixed in the next release.

Testing Netscape 6 for standards compliance is an excercise in futility. Yes, I found a few innocuous bugs, but nothing that will terminally mess up your layouts or make your pages unreadable. And most of them were already on Bugzilla; some of them had already been fixed since the code-freeze in September. Netscape 6 is already out of date, in this sense; if you want the bleeding edge of Mozilla power, you should get a nightly build instead.

Make no mistake, this browser is made by developers for developers. If you create Web pages for Netscape 6, you're in for an incredible ride. Even if you find something it can't do, you can still improve the browser so that it can.

However, the big question everyone is asking is, should you develop for Netscape 6? How does the arrival of Netscape 6 change developer's lives?

The first good thing to come of this is that Netscape 6 sounds the final death knell of Communicator 4 and its appalling rendering engine. If there's one group of people who are guaranteed to upgrade to Netscape 6, it's Communicator users. In a year's time, if anyone e-mails you asking why your page doesn't work with their version of Communicator, you'll be in a position to reply that the browser is terribly broken and thus not supported. Up until now, that meant alienating a good chunk of your audience. Soon, it will mean you're pointing out that someone is using a bizarre, antiquated, broken browser that was never any good in the first place. But not just yet.


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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: November 30, 2000
Revised: November 30, 2000