Newest Review: ... can choose from a non Java browser or the Java, Netscape recommends installing the non Java, an odd suggestion in the light that this pro... more
Past Glories Not Yet Reclaimed
Netscape Navigator 6.0
Member Name: wulf
Netscape Navigator 6.0
Date: 09/08/01, updated on 09/08/01 (32 review reads)
Advantages: standards compatibility, customisation of appearance
Disadvantages: slow, bloated, there are better alternatives
Netscape probably look back to the mid-90's with fond nostalgia. At that time I was starting to find out about the web and Netscape Navigator was *the* browser of choice. When Navigator 2 was out, it really had little competition, while Navigator 3 was, without a doubt, a better product than IE3 - it could handle frames and tables that its competitor would choke on.
However, things started to change with the version 4 browsers. Netscape 4 wasn't too bad and had a lot of usable features but it still had some problems with standards compatibility (particularly when dealing with Cascading Stylesheets). On the other hand, IE4 had a lot of nice features, dealt much better with web standards and came bundled tightly with the Windows operating system that was shipped with most new PCs. While Netscape seemed to stagnate, providing minor releases from time to time, Microsoft stole the lead and released IE5, which offered yet more advances.
It was against this background - a shining history now tarnished and neglected - that Netscape 6 was released last year. It looked gorgeous, coped well with stylesheets (I make heavy use of stylesheets, so this is important to me) and had lots of cool new features. Unfortunately, it was also slow to load and noticebly unstable.
I tried my very best to like it. I wanted an alternative to Microsoft's browser. IE had secured an unfair lead by being given intimate connections with Windows and was not without foibles of its own. However, I have to admit that eventually I gave up. I keep it on my Windows hard disks only out of a professional commitment to testing my pages on a range of browsers.
Is it all over for Netscape? Maybe not - for example, some of the customisability it introduced (allowing the browser to take custom skins) seems to be popular, and it has certainly made great strides towards standards compliance. As they say, "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings"...
But, wait a moment - that's opera, which reminds me of an IE alternative that I find much more appealing (http://www.opera.com). Farewell Netscape. I'll fondly remember your former days of glory but you're going to have to do more than play on my memories if you want to win back my attention in any serious way.