Netscape to break Up Navigator feature set

Netscape will break up its Navigator browser into a component-based architecture with the Galileo release of Netscape Navigator early next year.

Netscape will break up its Navigator browser into a component-based architecture with the Galileo release of Netscape Navigator early next year. By dividing the browser into components, Netscape intends to speed up development for itself and ISVs.

The company is already working with Apple and IBM to develop component versions of the browser that would use the Macintosh and OS/2 versions of OpenDoc and underlying technology from both companies to replace some functions of the browser, Netscape officials say. Core components that could be provided by the OS include the Java libraries, the Java Virtual Machine and the email features provided by both IBM and Apple with their OSes.

Apple and Netscape have already outlined their plans to use a component version of Navigator within Apple's Cyberdog Internet technology; IBM officials say they were still exploring the OpenDoc option.

IBM and Netscape have announced a native version of Navigator 2.02 for OS/2 that should go into beta testing early this month, then be available for free download in early to mid-October. "This is something our users have been asking for," says Eckart Walther, product marketing manager at Netscape, of his company's strategy.

Navigator could also take advantage of OpenDoc's compound document architecture to link Java applets together to form complex applications, Walther says. Navigator will also take advantage of Apple's integration of the OS and the browser, says Andy Lauta, Apple's manager of product marketing for AppleNet. "It will still include the drag-and-drop features of the Cyberdog browser, letting you move live links into documents and launch Web searches from within applications," Lauta says.

That same capability will be supported within OS/2, Netscape officials say. The company is waiting to see the final version of OpenDoc for Windows 2.0 before announcing support for that platform. If Sun decides to support a method of linking Java applets together other than OpenDoc, so will Netscape.

IBM and Netscape officials say OpenDoc and the Java Virtual Machine are both vital to OS/2's success. They remain complementary, which is why both will be built in to OS/2 Warp 4, due this month. "A good example of how the two relate is what was announced this (US) summer of how the Java Beans APIs relate to OpenDoc," says Jeff Howard, IBM's worldwide OS/2 brand manager.

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