Summary: look for more tag storms from the south, while a few sunny spots
will be framed from the west... Look for 5.0 beta to peek out of the clouds in
> Most dramatic of the enhancements will be new HTML layout
> tags that open multiple browser windows at once.
> Navigator 4.0 is also expected to introduce a new type
> of frame that can lay on top of other frames and appear
> without borders or scroll bars.
> Online forms will also reportedly gain basic computation
> and validation capabilities
> the font-selection tag introduced by Microsoft Corp. will
> be supported, letting designers specify fonts by name
> The addition of S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail
> Extensions) will let users trade encrypted e-mail
IMHO, S/MIME is a bad idea whose time has come. Unstoppable, but not very
elegant (still, AFAIK, sends two copies of signed mail, one in an ASN.1 binary
envelope, and one in the clear for other mailers).
> Version 4.0 will automatically find, download and install
> plug-ins when needed.
> Navigator Administration Toolkit that will add a
> Java-based development environment for the browser. This
> will let managers fully customize the application... also
> let managers create centrally stored settings for
> Navigator, which all clients on a network will be able
> to access on start-up,
... just like Jigsaw's configuration resources?
JULY 8, 1996 / VOLUME 10 NUMBER 26
Navigator 4.0 racing to beta
By James Staten (email@example.com_)
Netscape Communications Corp. is readying a major new offensive in the Web
browser wars, and the company is arming Navigator for groupware development.
While the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is finalizing Navigator 3.0, a
parallel development team is working on Version 4.0, which reportedly will
enter public beta testing in September or October -- just months after the
final release of 3.0.
The final Navigator 4.0 is scheduled to ship in the first half of 1997.
According to sources, the focus of this release will be enabling technologies
for intranet groupware. Netscape reportedly is adding tools so Web developers
can create collaborative applications based on the company's browser and its
editing companion, Navigator Gold.
) Interface design. Most dramatic of the enhancements will be new HTML layout
tags that open multiple browser windows at once. For example, a stock quote
site could open a small window at the top of the screen with a running ticker,
a square window that graphs stock movements and a text-page window with the
latest news from Wall Street. Users would be able to resize and reposition
each window independently.
Navigator 4.0 is also expected to introduce a new type of frame that can lay
on top of other frames and appear without borders or scroll bars. Sources said
these features will let designers stack page elements, such as a text-only
frame overlaying one that contains a picture or digital video. Removing a
frame's borders and scroll bars will create an appearance similar to the
more-familiar tables, sources said.
Online forms will also reportedly gain basic computation and validation
capabilities, such as adding data from two or more fields and presenting a
total before sending the numbers to a server.
A Java just-in-time compiler will arrive for the Mac with Version 4.0,
sources said, along with class libraries for building custom Java interfaces
to Navigator itself or Web documents viewable through it. In addition, the
font-selection tag introduced by Microsoft Corp. will be supported, letting
designers specify fonts by name (see _04.15.96, Page 12_).
) E-mail. According to sources, Navigator's built-in e-mail will let users
read and compose messages when not connected to the Internet. The program will
also let users filter and reply automatically to mail and discussion-group
Netscape will reportedly add full drag-and-drop text editing, and users will
be able to put complex HTML, including tables and images, into the bodies of
messages. The addition of S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail
Extensions) will let users trade encrypted e-mail, while IMAP4 (Internet
Message Access Protocol Version 4) will let Navigator users maintain offline
and online mailboxes that are synchronized automatically.
Online full-text searching will work with mail and discussion groups, sources
said, and the built-in address book will use LDAP (Lightweight Directory
Access Protocol). Common to Windows NT and Unix mail servers and groupware
products, LDAP synchronizes local address books with server directories.
) Components. Sources said Netscape sees the move to component software as
critical to reducing Navigator's RAM and hard disk requirements. On the Mac,
OpenDoc is the only solution being considered.
The company reportedly will create a version of Navigator that is an OpenDoc
part; sources said Apple plans to bundle it with Cyberdog. The Navigator
plug-in architecture will be accessible through this part, letting all OpenDoc
components interoperate with Netscape plug-ins.
On Windows, however, Netscape's technology path is less clear. Sources said
the company is considering Microsoft Corp.'s OLE but is not entirely pleased
with it. Netscape reportedly is even less pleased -- and skeptical -- about
IBM Corp.'s efforts to port OpenDoc to Windows.
Sources said Navigator's own plug-in architecture will be greatly improved.
Instead of having to locate and install plug-ins manually, Version 4.0 will
automatically find, download and install plug-ins when needed.
) File handling. Within each client's main Navigator 4.0 folder, the browser
will create a series of folders to organize the various types of content
encountered while browsing, sources said. These contents will include cached
Web files plus data stored on the client by Internet or intranet applications.
Users reportedly will be able to reorganize local Navigator data in ways that
make more sense to them.
A new security layer will surround this local folder structure to prevent
network applications from accessing files elsewhere on a user's hard drive.
Navigator itself, however, will be able to look outside of its hierarchy. In
an extension of the current helper-application setup, the program reportedly
will be able to find and launch local applications needed to view or edit
files sent over the Internet, even when the file types and applications are
) Administration. During the Navigator 4.0 beta cycle, Netscape is expected
to release an updated Navigator Administration Toolkit that will add a
Java-based development environment for the browser. This will let managers
fully customize the application, creating new interfaces and building
client-server intranet applications.
The tool kit will also let managers create centrally stored settings for
Navigator, which all clients on a network will be able to access on start-up,
sources said. Netscape declined to comment.