Netscape Navigator 2.x

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On: 2017-08-04 18:00:49
Updated by: that-ben
On: 2024-02-26 13:16:26
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  • Main interface 

What is Netscape Navigator 2.x?

Netscape Navigator 2.0.2 is the second big release of the world famous web browser.

A phenomenon called the World Wide Web came smashing through the computer world in 1995. Netscape Communications, a start-up company, rose to prominence thanks to a piece of software (nicknamed Mozilla) it essentially gave away. In the ensuing pandemonium, almost every software company began scrambling to create a Web product or strike a deal with a company that already had one, lest they be left behind. Welcome to the sequel; Navigator 2.0. (Note: IDG, Macworld's parent company, owns a stake in Netscape Communications.) After launching Navigator 2.0 and connecting to the Internet via your TCP/IP connection (either dial-up or a dedicated network), you're faced with the browsing window and a row of navigation buttons that connect your computer to the World Wide Web and give you access to its millions of multimedia "pages” of hyperlinked information. From a Web surfer’s perspective, the look-and-feel of Navigator hasn't changed much; the point-and-click metaphor still applies. But beyond this window, there's a philosophic change. With Navigator 2.0, Netscape attempts to establish an architecture that will let the program grow into an all-in-one Internet platform while continuing to keep its browser state-of-the-art.

Don't Worry, It's Still a Browser

At the heart of Navigator is an engine that takes HTML (HyperText Markup Language), a text-based page-description language, and displays it in the graphical form of a Web page. That's really all a Web browser does, HTML was designed ns a deliberately simple language to facilitate the exchange of information across computer platforms and across the world, but as commercial uses of the Web have increased, so has the demand for more-sophisticated page-layout options, and Netscape has led the way in innovations.

Navigator 2.0 supports a wider variety of page-display options by extending the HTML code with proprietary tags. Among the features the Netscape extensions add are

Frames Frames place individual HTML pages as panes within the main window, each pane displaying a separate HTML document. Frames can act as a navigation tool to control other frames, or to display split pages. However, frames also complicate the basic navigation of a window because they throw off the single-page metaphor that browsers were designed around.

Ledges A ledge is a static frame that places a banner across the top or bottom of a browser window. Ledges contain static content such as a navigation bar or an advertisement.

Client-side support for image maps

Navigator 2.0 can read a new kind of clickable image map that doesn't require accessing the server to add hyperlinks to different areas of the image. This new feature supports the offline use of HTML on CDs or from a local cached file.

Text-display modifiers A handful of new text-display modifiers control color, font size, and justification, as well as text wrap within text-entry fields.

Plug-ins and Java

The most notable of Navigator 2.0’s additions is a plug-in architecture, like that of Adobe Photoshop. Browsers have traditionally handled multimedia content, such as QuickTime movies and digital audio, using small helper applications that require a separate window or interface. Navigator’s plug-in architecture makes it possible to integrate this content as part of a Web page. Using a series of HTML tags, you can create pages that display multimedia content in-line (as an integrated part of the page), rather than in a separate window.

Netscape has published information that enables any developer to write Netscape-compliant plug-ins as new content types appear. Many companies with competing browsers, including Microsoft, say they will adopt a plug-in architecture that supports the Netscape plug-ins. The biggest drawback in this new multimedia bonanza is the RAM requirement: many of these plug-ins require 8MB dedicated to Navigator. Multimedia may be cool, but it isn’t cheap.

Support for Java, Sun Microsystems’ programming language for the Internet, is built-in but not fully implemented. Navigator 2.0 recognizes a subset of Java called JavaScript, which embeds some of Java's features in HTML pages, allowing Web designers to create interactivity that relies on the browser and not on the Web server. Java applets are supported in the Windows version but only partially supported for the Mac...

Netscape’s expansion of HTML using extensions, plug-ins, and Java means the company has stepped around the slow-moving Internet standards committee. Plus, Navigator’s popularity forces other Web-tool developers to follow Netscape’s additions to the standards. Netscape’s extensions are by and large an improvement on the current state of HTML, but they present a problem for Web developers and authors. While these extensions follow the demands of the market and give Web authors much more control over content, they also fragment the HTML standard. It’s a shame that, if used haphazardly, these extensions can render a Web page unreadable and unnavigable to other browsers, and developers can lose the part of their audience not using Navigator.

Performance Improvement

Netscape has also revved Navigator’s performance. Version 2.0 has a better FTP (File Transfer Protocol) implementation for downloading software from the Internet; transferring files is now much improved, particularly at higher bandwidths. By creating a new window for downloads. Navigator 2.0 doesn't tie up the main browser window or force you to open another window to keep surfing. Also new is a Netscape extension to HTML that provides uploading capability so you can use a form to upload files to a Web server.

In addition to supporting GIF and JPEG images, Navigator 2.0 adds support for the enhanced JPEG format, which allows a wide range of colors with good compression. There are more GIF images on the Web, but photographers prefer JPEG because of the wider range of colors it can display.

Navigator as a Lotus Notes Replacement?

Other additions to the Navigator interface are meant to facilitate communication between users. A large percentage of Web-server software is sold to businesses that intend to create internal Web sites to support and distribute information to employees and customers, known as intranets, such servers are meant to replace proprietary systems, like Lotus Notes, or even office E-mail systems, such as CE Software’s QuickMail or Casady & Greene’s cc:Mail. Conceptually, an intranet offers a lot of advantages to businesses, including good cross-platform support, inexpensive client software, and a more direct Net interface that gives vour business a global reach.

Unfortunately, Navigator's collaborative-communication tools are not yet on a par with dedicated programs. The new E-mail interface adds some nice features, most notably the ability to receive E-mail from a POP mail server. The new mail reader looks a lot like the browser window and includes a hare-bones address book for storing E-mail addresses; supports threaded (grouped by subject) mail; and reads HTML formatting, allowing you to include hyperlinkcd text and graphics in your mail. A small icon in your Web browser notifies you when you have mail.

However, Navigator doesn’t match up to current E-mail products like Claris Emailer or Qualcomm’s Eudora Pro. Navigator does not support quoting E-mail in your replies or maintaining multiple E-mail accounts or services, and its method of embedding HTML within E-mail looks messy when viewed by another E-mail application.

Navigator 2.0 also includes a new Usenet news reader, but the interface is unnecessarily complicated, and hard to use on a small screen. Netscape plans to ship a more robust product called Navigator Gold that will include HTML authoring features that might make these communications tools more usable, but they currently need vast improvement if Navigator wants to compete with office E-mail programs or Lotus Notes. Better still would have been a component software structure to allow users to select third-party replacements for these tools.

I experienced fewer crashes with 2.0 than with previous versions, but it’s still not as stable as it ought to be, especially if, as Netscape expects, you use it to replace other Internet apps. Its also worth noting that you need Open Transport 1.1 to use Navigator 2.0 with a PCI-based Mac. Apple should have released that Open Transport upgrade by the time you read this.

The Last Word

With a slew of new features, interface improvements, and a display architecture that is leading the burgeoning Internet industry. Navigator 2.0 is an ambitious product. But is it a successful one?

As a Web browser, Navigator is at the top of its class. No other product even comes close for browsing the Net. But as a collaborative cross-platform tool for business, it has a long way to go. I’ll be using Navigator 2.0 to surf the Web, but I’m not ready to toss out my other Internet tools just yet.

Hawn, Matthew. (May 1996). Navigator 2.0. Macworld. (pgs. 50-52).

Download Netscape Navigator 2.x for Mac

(1.93 MiB / 2.02 MB)
Netscape v2.0.2 installer / compressed w/ Stuffit
586 / 2017-08-04 / a4fae8843f11403f4a367c14fc6194c9da27fc53 / /
(2.13 MiB / 2.23 MB)
(same as above, but in a disk image instead of a .sit archive) / DSK image
9 / 2024-02-26 / 1bf93be977cb3fe8f22cf53ff3c07687e4f1fa36 / /
(1.9 MiB / 2 MB)
/ BinHex'd, use Stuffit Expander
63 / 2017-08-04 / 28190351669e089091e0772ac6d040df5ccf880f / /
(2.59 MiB / 2.72 MB)
/ BinHex'd, use Stuffit Expander
29 / 2017-08-04 / cc588959f1f10a6a6b8d247467270b8d5b39f9ee / /
(2.6 MiB / 2.72 MB)
/ BinHex'd, use Stuffit Expander
81 / 2017-08-04 / f69353f347eb46cd04e765742874ff2495738aa7 / /
(1.92 MiB / 2.01 MB)
/ compressed w/ Stuffit
7 / 2023-01-07 / c796309db8ce137a4aac584889432ceaab8917ed / /
(2.47 MiB / 2.59 MB)
/ BinHex'd, use Stuffit Expander
2 / 2023-12-23 / 18dccb53e5f62e531c0afdad1d747befca2aec18 / /
(2.53 MiB / 2.65 MB)
/ BinHex'd, use Stuffit Expander
4 / 2023-12-23 / bd41b44c433d9bc4f506fd081eb776691c33e824 / /


68K + PPC (FAT)

System Requirements

From Mac OS 7.0 up to Mac OS 9.2

Compatibility notes

Architecture: 68K + PPC (FAT)

At least 4MB of free RAM (recommended 6MB)

Mac OS 7.x - Mac OS 9.2.2

Open Transport v1.1 or later


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