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Netscape 7 Pre-Release 1: Quick Look

Netscape has just introduced the brand spanking new version 7 (Pre release) of their web browser. In this article Steve takes a quick look at it and sums up his likes and dislikes.

Author Info:
By: Steve Adcock
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 1
May 28, 2002
  1. · Netscape 7 Pre-Release 1: Quick Look
  2. · A quick look at Netscape v7 (pre release)
  3. · Conclusion

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Netscape 7 Pre-Release 1: Quick Look - A quick look at Netscape v7 (pre release)
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Installation and execution
First off, here's the minimum system requirements for Netscape v7:

Netscape 7 System Requirements

Downloading and installing the program was a snap (total time: 5 minutes). The program sports some nice changes over version 6, but remains lacking is many areas. The interface is similar, default bookmarks remain, automatic icon generation for the bottom of your screen and in your bookmark list in IE is an unfortunate lingering 'feature', and the advertisements for AOL is simply disheartening.

The program still takes seconds longer to load than Microsoft's Internet Explorer and utilizes 10,000 more kilobytes of memory than does IE (improvement over Netscape 6's 20,000 kilobytes more).

Web page renderings
There were two great improvements I noticed right off the bat. First, table renderings are slightly more precise than version 6 (empty tables, for example, need not a non-break space to become visible) and CSS (and CSS table) renderings are much better (tables will not negate CSS implementations in particular circumstances and link specifications are better supported). Version 7 still lacks good support for CSS link coloring, however. When defining text decorations within CSS, underlines are much too thick with larger text sizes. Although some light improvements were made, CSS remains a major problem.

I'd still like to see more precise table renderings, especially when embedded tables are utilized. I have experienced the outer-most table's width can become greater than originally intended. The biggest difference I have noticed is with webmonkey.com. Inspecting the main page with IE, then with Netscape, a huge difference in table widths is immediately realized.

Netscape also does a poor job of rendering list items (<li>). It seems that text, intended to be written directly next to, and on the same line as, the bullet graphic, will drop down a line, creating an ugly effect. The only way to remedy this is to surround all <li> tags with either <ul> or <ol>, which also indents each bullet.

Some Netscape niceties
Netscape has taken an idea Opera has used for many versions, and that is the tabbed window concept. With tabbed windows, a user can browse many different web sites (in essence, have multiple instances of the program open) within one single program instance. These tabs are conveniently and intuitively located directly above your viewing area and below your navigational buttons. New tabs can be created by clicking on the File menu, then New, then Navigator Tab (Ctrl+t).

Another feature I enjoy is the ease of bookmarking web sites. When viewing a web site, bookmarking the site is as easy as a simple click on the icon to the left of the URL in the address bar at the top of the screen. After the click, the page's title and URL are automatically displayed and a folder selection list can be utilized to organize the bookmark. I realize this is not a new feature to browsers, but Netscape is the first to allow the user to click to the left of the URL in the address bar.

I also like how Netscape will keep track of how long each and every page you visit takes to load. You can see this at the bottom of the program window in your blue horizontal bar. This is extremely useful when designing your own web site and need to meet a load time quota. I have found that stevesdomain.net will load in less than 1 second on a fractional T1 connection.

There are many other features I like, including the download manager, where you can view each download and its status and even pause and resume downloads. Version 7 also supports favicons, or the little icons to the left of the URL in the address bar. It's about time Netscape supports that concept. Anyone like looking at a web site's underlying HTML code? Netscape includes a real nice little text editor with syntax highlighting, making it a effortless task of looking at, and understanding, the code.
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