I have recently been working on a new page, dedicated to "The Realm," a multi-player game from Sierra On-Line. This page includes some of the newest features found in Netscape 2.0. I figured this week, I'd talk about some of these features and rate them on performance.
All of these features, save for one, are supported by Netscape 2.0. Netscape 2.0 does it all, having the nicest interface and having the most support across the WWW. Netscape also has nice mail and news interfaces, even though I use separate programs to get my news and mail. I'm telling you, it's worth the download.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 has one main thing that Netscape doesn't. It supports the ability to play a MIDI (sound) file in the background while one is viewing a page. I think this is kind of nice, as the publisher of the page can set the tone for that page. Netscape will play files, but they're only .wav files, which take much longer to download. Internet Explorer's MIDI feature is supported on my page, since I like it so much.
Now, onto Netscape. Perhaps its most well-known feature is Java, or the programming language allowing you create small programs which create animation, user interfaces, or silly games. The problem with Java is that it takes awhile to download programs, particularly those dealing with animation, and also few people besides programmers and web designers know how to use Java. If you're a regular schmuck like me, you're reduced to using free Java programs created by others. Also, since regular people and not always professional coders can make Java programs, we often get memory leaks, which gradually steal memory from our computers. I wouldn't expect Java to be used more until regular people can use it, and cable modems (much faster transfer rates) are introduced to the Internet community.
Netscape allows for people to change text color for easier reading of long documents. One can make words certain colors to emphasize their importance. I'm using this feature more and more -- it really makes the page pleasing to look at.
Plug-ins. Who cares? Who uses them? They could be more appealing, if they were actually useful. Besides, if you don't have the plug-in when viewing a page, you have to go through all the trouble of downloading it and THEN viewing the page again.
Improvements to viewing .gif and .jpg files, with individual palettes made for each picture. Nice.
Frames have also been introduced. Although people seem to like frames, I don't. They discourage continuity within a page since there are different frames to manipulate. I tried adding frames to my pages, but they just didn't work out -- I thought the pages felt nicer without frames. My "The Realm" page WILL have frames though, but that's because the page has been designed specifically for frames. Frames just don't do it for me...I like the ability to just scroll down one page and view its contents. And besides, pages without frames are easier to maintain and easier to set up.
These are the main features of Netscape 2.0. There are others, but they deal more with the program itself than the HTML code. I encourage you to use the newer features of Netscape -- be creative and imaginative! Make people WANT to view your page.
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