Netscape Communications Corp’s plans for version 2 of its Navigator Web browser mark the most radical departure from standard Hypertext Mark-up Language seen so far, according to US sources that have seen the proposed specifications. The company apparently intends to implement a new application programming interface set that will enable software developers to build modules […]
Netscape Communications Corp’s plans for version 2 of its Navigator Web browser mark the most radical departure from standard Hypertext Mark-up Language seen so far, according to US sources that have seen the proposed specifications. The company apparently intends to implement a new application programming interface set that will enable software developers to build modules that will slot into Netscape. The concept is similar to today’s ‘helper applications’, such as MPEG movies players, except that the movie appears to be embedded within the the document body, rather than in a separate window, as with today’s helpers. In addition to the interface, Netscape reportedly plans to introduce a co-ordinate-based grid system, which will enable authors to open independent windows of particular size at particular locations within the Navigator: it’s like today’s HyperText Markup Language tables on speed said one source. The application programming interface makes it more like an operating system than a Web browser. Each window will be be able to display graphics or text and may be made scrollable. Other new features that will be in the browser include fully integrated electronic mail and Internet relay chat. The sources said that the new interface is the basis for the company’s work on integrating Macromedia Inc’s Director player and Adobe Systems Inc Acrobat reader into the browser. Macromedia said its software will enable QuickTime movies, for example, run within Netscape documents as soon as they load, rather than needing a separate click to load them. Netscape Navigator version 2.0 is expected to go into early testing within the next couple of months. However, the promised implementation of Sun Microsystems Inc’s Java language will have to wait for later. Although the company is working to have it ready by the end of the year, some industry watchers are sceptical that they will be able to implement the language interpreter by then across all its systems. The impending addition of Java compatibility does mean it is likely that the burgeoning complexity of Netscape Navigator will reach its peak with the version 2.0 release, since Java will tend to make support for additional data types within the browser itself redundant. Instead of having to hard-code new features explicitly into the client, the emphasis will move towards content providers placing Java ‘applets’ within their documents. Netscape was unavailable for comment.