Re: Netscape Internet Foundation Classes ?

Joe Kiniry (
Wed, 21 Aug 96 10:25:55 -0800

You wrote:
> Excerpted from PCWeek article about JavaScript incompatibility and
> sniping:
> > Going forward, it appears that Netscape Navigator's future
> > is clouded with proprietary uncertainties about its
> > forthcoming Netscape IFCs (Internet Foundation Classes).
> > Comprising the IFCs are User Interface, Applications
> > Services, Security, Messaging and Distributed Objects.
> > The IFCs will be included in the next version of
> > Navigator--code-named Galileo--due at the end of the
> > year, officials said.
> >
> > While these classes are based on Java and are freely
> > licensable, several of them duplicate work under way by
> > JavaSoft and other industry software vendors, which will
> > be part of Java 1.1, due later this year, sources said.
> >
> > Because the Security and Messaging classes are still in
> > development, Netscape is uncertain whether Java applets
> > based on those classes will be Navigator-specific,
> > officials said.
> This is news to me... could be a troubling split brewing, certainly
> explains some of what might be happening with code signing... any
> other info out there?
> RK

upon announcement of netscape one i brought up these points to the
infosphere group here at caltech. there is a mess developing here
because of netscape's need to push their ideas, and not products, to
market. netscape one is nothing more than a whitepaper and a new
name for a collection of heretofore unrelated tools. you could
almost compare it to activex in that light. :)

in any case, if netscape decides to go ahead an engineer some of
the components of their one
release before the specs for java 1.1 are released, we could have a
serious problem in the short-term. in the long-term, i believe
that developers of java applications are much more likely to support
the sun specs regardless of release timing issues. you see, the
java developer community seems to be very pro-sun and
anti-establishment (at least until the wintel hordes arrive).

it's not just security and messaging either - all the so-called
'distributed objects' pieces of the spec are to have netscape
proprietary apis, though many will be using omg iiop for the
communication protocol (bravo netscape, and i don't say that very

i believe that we will see more these java-related clashes because,
with the lucrativeness of the market, everyone is racing to be the
first to announce. have you ever seen so many white papers
describing technology that "we're thinking about doing but you can't
blame us if we don't" _ever_?

i don't think this clash will come to a head though. sun and
netscape have pretty good communication channels and i'm sure
pre-releases of apis for the components in which netscape has
interest will be made available. so, regardless of
re-implementation strategies (i.e. we want to get to market 2 months
before sun), at least the apis will be identical. now let's just
hope that the semantics are as well...