Netscape 6:
November 14, 2000 2:05 AM   Subscribe

Netscape 6: It's here, it's queer, get used to it. (Actually it pretty much rocks.)
posted by Zeldman (82 comments total)
My buddy was instant messaging me from it last night before I left work. Been pretty peeved by earlier incarnations of it -- slow-rendering, a real crash-test dummy and not at all Java-friendly, not to mention my discomfort with its Composer page-designing function. Yes, I know: With all the WYSIWIG tools in the World Wide Web at my disposal, why even glance at Composer? Because I'm a yutz. But even yutzes deserve working bloatware, not just the kind only a developer could love. So it rocks, huh? Lemme pull out my copy of "War and Peace" for company while it downloads...
posted by allaboutgeorge at 2:34 AM on November 14, 2000

Wow, if Zeldman gives it some praise, I think it's worth checking out at home... definitely must get it at work, for testing purposes.

::crossing fingers::
posted by hijinx at 4:18 AM on November 14, 2000

No too bad so far...

it's still pretty clunky and just crashed while typing this reply (don't switch windows too much if you have a half written message in the text area). I'm going to continue to give it a test run.

why oh why did they decide to reimplement windows' menu system. the pull down menus and dialogs seem to me to make program feel clumsy and not quite at home on this platform.

let's see if it crashes when i press post ...
posted by lagado at 4:21 AM on November 14, 2000

it's still alive!
posted by lagado at 4:22 AM on November 14, 2000

Wait, how will MozillaZine spin this endorsement? "Zeldman Reverses Position On Netscape 6, Is A Poopy-Head Anyway?"
posted by darukaru at 6:09 AM on November 14, 2000

Initial reaction:

Friction burns from super-fast loading.

Annoyance that the FTP proxy settings are first on the list, as opposed to HTTP proxy settings.

Annoyance that when I tab into a text box (in the settings, not on a site), the text isn't highlighted like it is in every other Windows application.

The flashy Netscape logo is pretty. Bound to become annoying soon though.

Fast! I said it before, but it turns out that all that wait-time I've experiencing is because of IEs rendering, not a bogged down T1. Wowzers!
posted by cCranium at 6:37 AM on November 14, 2000

Anyone want to guess how long it will take Microsoft to bundle MSN Messenger with IE 5.5/IE6 in all releases like it does with the MSN Explorer?

Apart from the bundled software. I like it, I don't know if I am ready to make it my default browser yet. I noticed some errors rendering a few sites, but it turned out to be the N4 compensations that were 'causing the problems.

How long before someone makes a MeFi Skin?
posted by riffola at 7:25 AM on November 14, 2000

one really cool feature is that the download page doesn't work with ns6 pre3. i had to manually ftp.
posted by lescour at 7:31 AM on November 14, 2000

Well, I see that Netscape's marketroids are yet another on the list of people who are too stoopid to figure out that Top-N lists count *DOWN*...
posted by baylink at 7:31 AM on November 14, 2000

I want to hate Netscape 6. I really do. I want to bitch and moan. I want to complain. But I can't. Sure, i've noticed some very minor differences between it and IE, such as table properties (darkborder and lightborder). It also wouldnt allow regular javscript to move div blocks around a page like IE does. But otherwise it's rendered everything perfectly. I'll still use IE for its behaviors, XML, and advanced scripting... but I won't complain anymore about AOL's web browser. Nice comeback, Netscape.
posted by Zebulun at 7:42 AM on November 14, 2000

This thing flies.

I am duly impressed.

Does this mean that guy from MozillaZine will stop being an insufferable asshole?
posted by solistrato at 7:55 AM on November 14, 2000

Wow. I didn't expect to be this impressed.

Too bad my website (pieced together with duct tape and chicken wire) looks like crap, but I know whose fault that is.

posted by jragon at 8:06 AM on November 14, 2000

I know it's a matter of semantics, but that IE Javascript you're talking about isn't 'regular', it's proprietary. Document.all is an invention of the Microsoft folks.

The 'regular' (w3c) javascript can be used to move thing around a page just as easily.

A List Apart ran a few articles on standards compliant DOM scripting, amazing considering Zeldman's huge 'anti-mozilla bias', (sarcasm ha ha)

There are also three very good articles over at on the new standards compliant scripting methods.

The best apart about it is, most of the DOM syntax works in IE 5. So, if you can bring yourself to loose document.all, you only have to write your code once, (twice if you want to keep Netscape 4.x working).

(of course, there are a few bits of the DOM that don't work yet . . .which will probably keep some web application developers from fully embracing the platform just yet. But that's another story, and I don't want to enrage members of the Lizard's court)

posted by alan at 8:07 AM on November 14, 2000

Does this mean a turn around for Netscape or is it just a good friend finally delivering on a long promised commitment?
posted by Brilliantcrank at 8:11 AM on November 14, 2000

I'm having some problems with php forms which redirect to $php_self for form handling.

It handles the data but then hangs before the page refreshes. Hmmmm....... Maybe this wasn't the right place for bugs.

Anyway. I like it so far.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:16 AM on November 14, 2000

The guys over at K10k are already playing with N6 and have made some interesting posts about N6.

Also anyone know how to change the links at the bottom of the browser? It would make a great place to have personal links.
posted by riffola at 8:18 AM on November 14, 2000

"Netscape Activation is simple and sets up many useful features. Are you sure you want to cancel Activation?"

Well, ghoddamnit, if you *admitted* that it also signs me up for Netcenter, which I have no desire to do, or gave me a way to do *my* configuration without having to sign up for your silly service, I wouldn't act like you're as stupid as Progressive Networks.

posted by baylink at 8:33 AM on November 14, 2000

It runs like a fucking brick on Linux. (sigh.)
posted by holgate at 8:38 AM on November 14, 2000


I suppose it's possible I'm a dumbass.

But can anyone tell me how to *start* the damned thing?

I'm running RH6.2 and KDE; I restarted my panel... and yet NS6 appears nowhere in my menus, nor on my desktop. I checked the default KDE menus. I checked the Gnome and RedHat menus, which are subsumed into the KDE tree.


What am I missing here, folks? Am I really supposed to have to create the menu/icon stuff myself?
posted by baylink at 8:39 AM on November 14, 2000

I can't seem to get it to start. It will launch if I start the install process again and then click launch while simultaniously installing it. But nowhere else.

Maybe this next install will fix it.

Will normal people use it?
posted by captaincursor at 8:58 AM on November 14, 2000

This premature ejaculation is so buggy I'll never be able to convince my NS4 friends to switch to it, which means it'll be that much longer before I can spiff up my site with more and sexier CSS -- but someone just came by and tossed me a NS6 t-shirt! "The Code is Ready... are you?" Woohoo!
posted by sudama at 9:03 AM on November 14, 2000

Nope. Sorry.

It can't render fonts for shit, *still*... and there appears now to be no way to disable the wildly privacy=invading "What's Related" function at all.

I'm thoroughly disappointed; this is not a production quality release -- on Linux, at least -- in any sense of that term not being used by a psychopath.
posted by baylink at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2000

You strange Linux people. *)

It would be nice, though, if NS6 had the auto-complete URL feature that IE has.
posted by solistrato at 9:07 AM on November 14, 2000

Is anyone using ZoneAlarm? Is it complaining yet?
posted by nikzhowz at 9:13 AM on November 14, 2000

Uh guys, I think you're all speaking prematurely [including the vaunted Zeldman] if you think it 'rocks'. Try
this page
, for example. Anyone remember the mouseover layers it was using for navigation? Gone. Mouse-offs don't seem to work either.

Or go here. This is a page I developed myself. See the DHTML dropdown navigation mouse-overs? Me neither.

Or how about here , another page I'm ***trying*** to develop. Open the window to 100% and notice the thin blue line down the right side that wasn't there in previous versions of netscape or IE.

This fucking sucks! My fingers hurt from writing Netscape hate mail and urging them to give it up, but here comes a newer, buggier [but better looking] version to make the lives of designers pure hell!
[By the way if anyone has a quick fix for the third site, I'd really appreciate it :)
posted by Karla at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2000

Karla: that's most likely because NS6 doesn't support the document.layers collection anymore, which was a Netscape invention to begin with. Most sites that rely heavily on cross-browser DHTML will probably need a rework.

I predict the most popular complaint about NS6 will be it's lack of backward-compatibility with earlier Netscape releases. They've really cut the apron strings with this release. In a way, I'm glad for that.
posted by scottandrew at 9:31 AM on November 14, 2000

N6 does not recognize my Logitech mouse's wheel scroller. Anyone come across this and find a way around it?
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:38 AM on November 14, 2000

Just a note that on the Mac you can both disable the "What's Related" and have it auto-complete URLs. It's in a preference panel all to itself.

Otherwise I've noticed a few bugs and problems, not the least of which is that it totally disregards the Mac UI (my scroll wheel at home won't work, nor will the buttons I have programmed to do that on my 4-button Thinking Mouse here at work), it doesn't use the UI widget for scroll bars (doubtless related to the above), and it behaves uniquely in other ways as well.

The page rendering is relatively quick - not faster than IE 5 - and it's silky smooth, which is great. Important enough for me that I didn't touch IE before version 5, because old Netscape versions drew pages so much more nicely.

Most sites I've looked at come out OK - though I haven't looked at much DHTML stuff yet, nor have I checked out the Java engine.

I've had the preferences section crap out on my on both machines - home and work. In one case it didn't close and save the prefs I'd adjusted, in other cases the whole window/dialog box didn't render at all.

Hover in CSS seems to work OK from a quick look at a couple sites.

There are some odd behaviours - for instance if I have two windows open and click over to the second while the first is looking for and rendering a page, when it's done it focuses on the first window. Which is different than old Netscape did and IE does.
posted by mikel at 9:38 AM on November 14, 2000

I had no trouble installing it on my Mac at work. I must admit, it sucks far less than the PR versions, still I keep wondering when it'll lock up and bring my poor OS 9 iMac to its knees.

However, the stupid freaking (NotSo)Smart Update for Wintel machines doesn't work behind a firewall. Does anyone know where I can download the installer sans SmartUpdate?
posted by likorish at 9:40 AM on November 14, 2000

Once again.

Karla, the first two pages you point to are using browser specific DHTML code. Document.all, document.layers, none of that works in Mozilla. This has been common knowledge for a long long time. Unless it was written with standards compliant Javascript in mind, none of your old DHTML is going to work (that includes Dreamweaver behaviors).

I can't tell what's going on with the third page, but I don't have time to download all the images and styles involved right now (i just have time to bitch about the bitching (-:)

Complain about the crappy Network Install, complain about the marketing, complain about the sometimes laggy XUL, complain about the legitimate bugs that were left in this version, but please stop whining about the Javascript.

posted by alan at 9:40 AM on November 14, 2000

I can see the headlines now:
Netscape 6 Released:
Normal people yawn, continue to use IE

It fascinates me how many people still really care.
posted by peterme at 9:49 AM on November 14, 2000

Heh. I'm just about done Peter. Back to IE this afternoon.
posted by mikel at 9:53 AM on November 14, 2000

Radsoft hates it. But Radsoft hates everything.
posted by straight at 10:10 AM on November 14, 2000

So Netscape finally goes and takes out the only thing that made it better than IE. The right click menu no longer pops out instantly upon clicking down on the mouse. Now IE is simply better in every way.

Other complaints:
-the menus at the top are slow
-all the text in the url box doesn't highlight when you click there once, like it should
-clicking my mousewheel doesn't do shit
-no full screen mode
-slow frame rate/2D performance when scrolling fast
-can't right click in the menu bar area
-they called it "N6" when it's actually "N5", just to try to make it sound closer to IE6
posted by grank at 10:14 AM on November 14, 2000

"Rocks"? It's shit.
posted by highindustrial at 10:21 AM on November 14, 2000

I personally haven't experienced any of the problems Radsoft had with the install. Netscape 6 has never crashed on my machine. Maybe I'm just luckier than others.
posted by scottandrew at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2000

straight: that's a review of pr3, at least from what i can see.
posted by pnevares at 11:25 AM on November 14, 2000

i'm fucking pissed. i was quite happy with mozilla seamonkey, and it was running very well, i was thinking about using it as my primary browser (running win98). i wanted to give ns6 a shot, and the thing decides not to start up. i get this tiled page, and no amount of clicking does anything. i close the window, and it locks up my machine. i tried to start my gold old mozilla, and now i get a GPF. fuck you as well, netscape.

even after uninstalling ns6, which was the fastest part of the whole process, mozilla still won't work. i'm pissed.
posted by pnevares at 11:27 AM on November 14, 2000

Are there anymore themes out there (other than what you can download on the Netscape site)? IMHO, they're all ugly (but then, I think IE 5 is ugly).

So far it's working fine on my G4 with OS 9.04
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:43 AM on November 14, 2000

peterme: it'd be nice to have a choice of browser. And though you'd think Linux users were spoilt for choice, neither Galeon, nor Skipstone, nor Opera, nor Mozilla, nor Konqueror, nor lynx/w3m/links has the complete functionality of the fossilised turd that is Netscape 4.7x.

Time to teach myself to code in C, alas.
posted by holgate at 11:51 AM on November 14, 2000

I'm not planning on installing it myself; from the sound of it it has nothing to offer to me (since I like IE5.5). But I'd be interested to hear from someone who has installed it if they'd look at this page:

and try mouse-overing the various parts of the "Hard Menu" block on the upper left side. Also try it with a more traditional browser so you can see how it's supposed to work.

Does it work properly? For me, at least, under Win 98SE, it works with IE5.5 and Nav 4.7. From what I'm reading, it might blow up Nav6 or act in odd fashions.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:55 AM on November 14, 2000

On my G4 with OS 9.0.4, UI widgets such as checkboxes are only about 60% likely to appear in any given window (of which only about 9 in 10 actually draw to the screen). This makes it extremely hard to do things like configure preferences, delete web-based mail, and the like. NS 6 is a nonstarter on the Mac.
posted by sudama at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2000

Peterme, it's like this: we want Netscape to work for a couple of reasons. A browser that won't unilaterally take over your machine and screw with everything would be one nice thing. IE is *far* too presumptious for me to install it on machines I'm responsible for as an IS guy; the shipped version is bad enough. But at least we don't *run* it.

Secondly, MS don't *do* IE for *us*, they do it for *them*. NS have a touch of that disease, especially since they got bought, but not *nearly* to the extent that MS do it. I don't *install* browsers on my client's boxes to make MS happy, I do it so my clients can get *work* done.

Thirdly, we want to see a browser that understands the standards... so we have something to write to.

Fourthly... there is no fourthly.

And finally, some of us just think Micros~1 sucks, and we'd slit our wrists in preference to having to use their product because there's no other choice.
posted by baylink at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2000

Steven - In N6, your menu appears to work the same as it does in N4.7. Looks fine.
posted by dnash at 1:05 PM on November 14, 2000

Steven Den Beste: The mouse-overs work fine but the text is spilling outside the boxes. Other than that, the site looks the same as in IE 5.5.

TakenOuttaContext: There are some more skins at

Personally, I love the new browser. Its standards support is refreshing. It's got a lot of neat features. I absolutely hated NN4.

As a developer, I hope this browser gains widespread acceptance.
posted by bbrown at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2000

* yawn *
I had been loyal for so long... rooting for little underdog Netscape, and now they're BigDawg AOL/TimeWarner/ Everything Masters of the Universe with a new broswer, so that argument is lost on me.

Both IE5 and NN6 are going to do funky privacy-invading things. Neither is perfect; neither is fully standards compliant. I've already got IE running and NN5 - I mean 6 - isn't offering me anything worth switching for. It took forever to download and install, even on a T3. The only people I see switching are NN4.7 users; if you're running IE5, there's not much point... I'm just keeping it for development purposes. Jason's source code still says it best.

posted by mimi at 1:30 PM on November 14, 2000

Here's something that's going to annoy people. Blogger doesn't work with NN6. The big ol' text box to edit your blog entry in doesn't allow data input.

And here I was about to blog some thoughts about how much I've been liking NN6.

The real annoying thing about using NN6 though, is all my cookies are gone. Would it be terribly difficult to import my old Netscape cookies (since I installed in a different location so I can still test with NN 4.03) or, better yet, my IE cookies?

It automatically imported my IE favorites without prompting me in any way, which I'm mildly irritated by, but couldn't offer any way to grab my cookies.

I like the fact that my search results are automagically tossed into the My Sidebar, which is a whole aspect of the browser I'm quite pleased with also. It minimizes perfectly, and provides some potentially interesting functionality I'll have to play with.

I'm really just mostly happy to have a nifty new piece of software to play with.
posted by cCranium at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2000

The thing about Blogger is that it worked in the later builds (going back a month or two). It's as if this "final" version is based on a much earlier milestone, like M13-14 or so.
posted by mathowie at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2000

Steven, it looks fine, and really shouldn't be broken in N6 considering the HardMenu is Flash. =P
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 1:54 PM on November 14, 2000

Well sure, Matt... that's almost literally what happened as I understand it. Netscape 6 forked off from Mozilla a while ago, not quite sure when but it was probably right around PR1.
posted by sudama at 2:03 PM on November 14, 2000

To be fair, there's a lot of issues I would have liked to have seen addressed in this release, particularly some of the DHTML/rendering issues.

A week ago I whipped up this page as a proof-of-concept. It's *almost* pure DOM/CSS. If you look at this page in IE5, NS6PR3 or Mozilla M18, they should function exactly alike. It's a testament to the potential power of DHTML when combined with standards compliance (plus it was a lot of fun to do).

But, you'll notice if you drag one of the windows over another, an annoying rendering error occurs in NS6/Mozilla. The Mozilla team has a patch for this but it didn't make it into the code for the NS6 ship date.

I think stuff like this is bad, because I wrote this code to be as DOM-specific as possible and it *still* runs better in IE5. No amount of cross-browser trickery is going to fix a bug in the browser engine. Stuff like this is going to turn off a lot of DHTML proponents who've had their fill of NS4.x shortcomings.

I wish they had waited.
posted by scottandrew at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2000

I totally like this browser, even if most of my other web friends don't. People are having problems installing and/or launching it. I had those problems as well. Uninstalling any PR or Mozilla releases solved that problem. Everything else has been candy.

All my sites work awesome, just the way I wrote them, although I've been developing for NS6 for a few months now just to make sure it all worked on release.

I think most of the problems people are having are coding issues, not browser issues, at least from the knee jerk reactions I've been hearing ("my site doesn't work!", or course not, you're using the NS4 DOM).

Overall, I'm pretty impressed, even if I did find a few glitches (but what browser doesn't have some?)
posted by vitaflo at 2:55 PM on November 14, 2000

sudama, I thought the NN code-freeze was M18, but it's been a while since I looked at the tree.

I'm fairly certain that M17 was supposed to be part of NN6, and NN6 handles most sites that I've encountered today significantly better than M17 did.
posted by cCranium at 4:10 PM on November 14, 2000

NS6 is the first ever browser to correctly display my pseudo-TerraTerm table:

Thank god for NS6.
posted by
afx114 at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2000

oops. fuck me, i suck

TTerm table example.
posted by afx114 at 4:21 PM on November 14, 2000

Blogger worked for me - sort of. I didn't have the problem mentioned above anyhow - I could enter text no problem, even if the text box did look a little funky. Where I had problems was publishing - but I now see that probably had to do with other issues at the Blogger end of things.

There are plenty of other things wrong with it, and not just from a web standards perspective. After a few hours of using it today I can say with some confidence that I have never used software as buggy and incomplete as this, including alpha or beta, shareware or commercial. That's going back to 1985 or so. It seems like they brought it out as soon as crashing bugs were mostly squashed, without worrying about the others.
posted by mikel at 5:53 PM on November 14, 2000

This just in:

Netscape fanatic makes IE5 skin for NS6 and trys to pass it off as so. Users wonder why IE5 suddenly turned to shit.

j/k...but an IE5 skin would be pretty funny
posted by physics at 7:56 PM on November 14, 2000

posted by alan at 8:01 PM on November 14, 2000

i'm fucking pissed. i was quite happy with mozilla seamonkey, and it was running very well, i was thinking about using it as my primary browser (running win98). i wanted to give ns6 a shot, and the thing decides not to start up. i get this tiled page, and no amount of clicking does anything.

*sigh* Wish I'd read this before I installed it on my 98 machine. Same problem: I got the tiled screen but no browser. I uninstalled and re-installed way too many times (and found that the uninstall wasn't always clean).

I finally tried a bare-bones install of the browser only and so far (knock wood, cross fingers, superstition of your choice) it seems to work. Not exactly encouraging nonetheless ...
posted by maudlin at 10:33 PM on November 14, 2000

ALA, Webmonkey, and WaSP have been disseminating this information since 1998. How can anyone who designs websites professionally (or as a passionate form of self-expression) be surprised that Netscape 6 no longer supports LAYERS? (No offense.)

Netscape has caught up with the standards IE supported, and gone them two better. IE will catch up with Netscape, and the web will work better for all of us. This is just another step toward having the same kind of baseline commonalities that folks in other media (like TV and radio) take for granted.

I'm happy that we can start kissing Nav4 goodbye. And stop worrying that divs will freeze or crash 25% of our visitors. This is a good day for the web.

[Aside: Peterme, you get the Marie Antoinette prize for that post. You crack me up.]
posted by Zeldman at 1:27 AM on November 15, 2000

What about people less in-the-know [like clients] who don't read any of those sites and don't know anything about browsers? I think that's the main concern for designers: "You know that site we built for you using layers last year? Well it doesn't work now. Give us more money to fix it." Regardless of when it was announced, it seems retrogressive of Netscape to un-support useful code from past versions. Am I crazy?
posted by chartres at 7:55 AM on November 15, 2000

It'll be a while (and probably a long while) before we can start kissing Nav4 goodbye (unless you were talking about beginning to pucker up and lean in for the kiss as opposed to starting actual lip-lock).
posted by bakiwop at 8:01 AM on November 15, 2000

[chartres] it seems retrogressive of Netscape to un-support useful code from past versions. Am I crazy?

You think layers were useful?! :)
posted by daveadams at 8:24 AM on November 15, 2000


Tell me about clients! The situation you describe above seems to be everyday stuff for us. Just now, we are facing one of the most anal-retentive clients who is whining a lot about some stupid bullets that are not aligning correctly ("Oh My, The A letter is 1/128 of an inch misaligned with the next line") in NN4, but it's just fine in IE. (You guessed it, the guy doesn't use IE). So it's back to ditch the CSS and <table> the whole shit out. Plus, the site uses layers as well, so I'm quite a bit concerned when -and whether- the guy realizes that it won't work in NN6.Is it any wonder there's something like the WASP? It seems like the dream of having more time to design instead of having to put up with clients and project managers who don't know/care shit about what us developers have to go through will remain always like that - a dream.And yes, I'd wish not being so pissed about that but I can't help it.
posted by betobeto at 8:39 AM on November 15, 2000

For the purpose of creating tertiary levels to navigation, for dragging elements, for popup information that you could move around, for interesting design conception [i'll send you a few links if you're really doubting it]....yes daveadams, i've seen layers be tremendously useful.
posted by chartres at 9:23 AM on November 15, 2000

If you have something that works for IE5 and NN4, it's going to work in NN6, you just have to fine-tune your browser-detection code to point the NN6 stuff at IE5 stuff, because you've been coding your IE5 stuff to comply with standards, right?

And, Chartes, '"You know that site we built for you using layers last year?..."'

If a professional designer who built a site a year ago didn't know that the next version of Netscape was going to break on those pages, then quite honestly it's that designers own damn fault for not paying attention.

That freedom, that standards compliance comes at a cost.

(the original, super long and much angrier version will be on my website tonight, if anyone cares to read a rant.)
posted by cCranium at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2000

Oh boy, a super long angry rant. Maybe I'll just send my clients your site since I and others obviously 'haven't been paying attention' to what's going on. For those of us that haven't been in the design game all that long and work for small companies, your commentary seems awfully condescending.
posted by chartres at 9:51 AM on November 15, 2000

Use Opera or I'll punch you in the nose!Why? Because it's standards compliant.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 10:40 AM on November 15, 2000

chartres, my advice would be to advise your clients that you designed the site for Netscape 4.whatever and that it won't work in Netscape 6 because AOL/Netscape/Mozilla decided to drop non-standard features, no matter how useful. They can keep using the site as long as they keep using Netscape 4.qxb. Since Netscape 6 will apparently co-exist happily with older versions, that seems like a reasonable solution.

And my comment about layers was intended in fun. Back in the days when I fooled around with DHTML, I found them to be troublesome to work with, but I'm not patient enough to work with stuff like that. Good luck!
posted by daveadams at 10:48 AM on November 15, 2000

chartres, it wasn't meant to be condescending, it was meant to be blunt and to the point. If you want a quick fix, adjust your browser detection algorithms to point NN6 to your IE5 code.

I'm sorry you've got a lot of work ahead of you to update things to work properly in NN6, but the information you needed to know has been available for far too long for me to have a whole lot of sympathy for you or anyone else who thinks this snuck up on them. Netscape 6 most certainly has problems, but the fact that it strictly enforces most standards is not one of them.

If you had tested the sites with various Mozilla builds and one of the Preview releases of NN6 and it worked fine but now breaks, that's something to complain about. If a block of any kind of code crashes NN6, as opposed to throwing errors, that's something to complain about.
posted by cCranium at 11:05 AM on November 15, 2000

Oh, and Mr. Skullhead, I would use Opera, but you know, it costs money. There's now two reasonably compliant browsers out there that I can get for free. I've tried Opera a couple of times (admittedly, not the latest version, but I imagine it's still fairly similar) and it really didn't do anything for me that made it any more special than IE or Netscape.

I'm glad they're able to make money off it though, that's very cool. Implementing something that uses an open standard, and that others are doing for free and actually staying in business for more than a few months is pretty impressive.
posted by cCranium at 11:27 AM on November 15, 2000

A tale of two operating systems: On Win98, Netscape 6 flies. On NT I don't even want to deal with it: It's slow and doesn't render sites like it does on 98. And is it just me, or does it read newsgroups a lot slower than Netscape 4 did?
posted by mrbula at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2000

Guys, [especially cCranium & Alan] with all the comments you guys have made about designers whining/not being worth their salt if they've still been designing using layers, I noticed with NS 6.0 I could no longer scroll on Kioken's
portfolio page. Kioken! Is this due to change in standards? And Corbis, you know the huge recently redesigned site that sells stock photography? Same thing, drop-down navigation doesn't work. In the last twenty four hours I've checked out sites referenced on k10k, dozens of well trafficked new-ish sites that all use layers. I realize *why* the layers don't work now in NS 6.0, but I'm just wondering why, if they develop for these mega-sites, did they continue to use them?
posted by dhoyt at 4:50 PM on November 15, 2000

I'm not quite sure what all this "NS6 flies" nonsense is all about. Maybe on a fully tricked-out machine, it does ... but, then, so does IE. On the gasping and panting 233MMX that still has responsibility for most of my word processing, research, and browsing, it's so slow as not to be usable. On that box (with - what? - 64Mb RAM, I think), IE5 is slow enough to be annoying, but it runs rings around NS6. (Sure, the on-screen rendering is maybe a few percent faster than on IE -- but when it takes 15 seconds to open a new window, who cares?) In comparison, NS4 trots along at a nice little clip.

There's absolutely no way this is going to be acceptable to most of the folks still using NS4 -- who tend to be running older machines, right? So we still can't use all of those nifty, three-year-old CSS features.

Also, installing NS6 seems to fuck up Java for NS4 -- at least, NS4 keeps crashing where it never did before. (And something managed to step on one of Communicator's DLLs, so it crashes regularly when tab-completing address entries. Thanks, guys.)

And WTF happened to the hover display of alt text? Am I going to have to go through and add titles to every freaking image?

posted by mazoola at 5:20 PM on November 15, 2000

I can't understand the claims that NS feels fast, and I'm testing it on a 700+ megahertz machine... maybe if you browse in one window pages load quickly, but I spawn windows left and right in my travels and NS takes forever to draw a window. This release is bad news for web developers.
posted by sudama at 6:25 PM on November 15, 2000

maybe if you browse in one window pages load quickly, but I spawn windows left and right in my travels

Finally! I thought I was the only one. I usually have between 9-12 windows open at a time...

It's not too surprising the browser designers forget we exist, since there are so few of us. NS6 sounded pretty sucky anyway, but this clinches it.

posted by Mars Saxman at 7:18 PM on November 15, 2000

what happened to hover is a bug that is now being fixed. (HOVER is there unless you also have JavaScript status bar text rollover messages. Then HOVER doesn't work. There's a workaround but most of us will code to standards and wait for the bug fix, I expect.)

posted by Zeldman at 7:26 PM on November 15, 2000

I prefer the recent nightly builds of Mozilla. They're faster.
posted by gleemax at 8:40 PM on November 15, 2000

Thanks for the warnings, guys... I'll hold off downloading until they get their act together. Is this supposed to be a joke, or are they gonna use WaSP, as a scapegoat for their failures?

I think Suck.Com had it right back in July.

posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 3:45 AM on November 16, 2000

I still prefer 4.7 because it looks and feels like a Windows program. Its fairly snappy but it crashes a lot.

6.0 crashes less, but they have reimplemented so many native windows widgets badly. It reminds me of one of those old DOS graphics programs which implemented the whole GUI from scratch. Its clunky and feels amateurish.

Why??? These things have been maturing on Windows for over 15 years. Writing them again is going to take a long time to get right. Users have come to expect a responsive interface. (I presume this arguments apply equally well to the Mac interface).

Example: With several browser windows open at once if one of the windows throws up a modal dialog all the other windows freeze up. To fix it you need to hunt for the window that threw up the box. Most people will assume that the browser crashed.

They could have easily use the native dialogs just like 4.7 Surely it wouldn't have been so hard to have fitted the new rendering model into the old 4.7 shell and fixed the memory leaks?

Frankly, this program is still not going to impress most Netscape users. Nobody's is going to switch back from IE to Netscape. Developers should just carry on supporting IE and wait for Netscape to deliver the real thing.
posted by lagado at 4:28 AM on November 16, 2000

comments you guys have made about designers whining/not being worth their salt

Note that I never said designers and aren't worth their salt if their code doesn't work. There are many people out there with much better and far more complex sites than mine that rely heavily on the Netscape 4 DOM and proprietary tags to make their pages look and work properly.

What I am saying is that this "sudden change" has been known and publicized in many places that designers should be reading (esp. mozilla and netscape development circles, but also places like ALA, dreamless, here and other web design communities).

They should not have been caught with their pants down, and for that I criticise them. I certainly don't criticise them for their abilities, and they're certainly worth their salt.

Also note that there ARE flaws and behaviours in NN6 that weren't in any of the previews or in any of the Mozilla builds I've used (such as Blogger's Edit Your Blog page, which is a just plain weird bug, or the hover problem, which I didn't encountered until now) and in those situations, there's nothing designers could do to work around them until they actually had the product the public is using. (or wait until the product's patched, which should be soon anyway, since so many of these bugs and their fixes are known)

Mars and sudama: I usually have one or two browser windows open, but earlier this morning I was working with 5 or 6 and noticed the same problem. That's just icky, very poor.

I can still take two pages that take a reasonably long time to load and have 'em load faster. One IE window, one NN window, and the difference is noticeable. I haven't bothered measuring. (win2k, p3-800, 128 meg RAM. yes, it's a good box, sorry. :-)

Lagado: I agree, the default theme should've been Classic. Let people play with themes during the setup or something, but default it to Classic.

I'm in the process of switching back, but I let sites use cookies on my box extensively (I'm far too lazy to actually type a password!) and doing all that crazy logging in is annoying. For me NN6 seems to be the superior browser.

What's really important to me though is that, finally, I have a real choice between free browsers. (sorry, Opera. :-)
posted by cCranium at 5:47 AM on November 16, 2000

As you could tell from my earlier comments, I wasn't all that impressed, either. FWIW, I wrote a review, which Jon at Linux Weekly News was kind enough to publish.

Not, I fear, my best writing; I sometimes don't let the ranting settle before setting fingers to keyboard, but these things will happen...
posted by baylink at 7:43 AM on November 17, 2000

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