What Was Netscape Thinking?!

Can someone kindly explain to me what Netscape’s designers were thinking when they designed “this atrocious looking beast”:http://browser.netscape.com/nsb/?

If you followed that link, then you know this post is about the new Netscape Browser 8.0 Beta. I happen to be typing this entry from within the new browser, and I must say, it’s got some intriguing options. Unfortunately, it’s so ugly I’m not sure I can bear using it for much longer.

The browser itself is a rebuild of the excellent Mozilla Firefox. It’s light, fast, and has all the features you’ve come to expect in a good browser, e.g. tabbed browsing, popup blocking, etc.

It seems mostly customizable, but for some reason I can’t seem to remove the search box from the toolbar. I can remove the address box, but not the search box. How odd is that? As far as I can tell, every other toolbar feature can be customized.

I also noticed some quirkiness with shorcut keys the first time I used the program. At first I thought it didn’t have the standard Ctrl+N, Ctrl+T, and Ctrl+W keystrokes to open and close tabs and windows. Restarting the browser seems to have knocked the keystrokes into action, though.

Perhaps the most interesting “feature” is the ability to display sites using either the Netscape (Gecko) rendering engine or the Internet Explorer engine. The wacky thing is that, by default, it uses IE‘s engine to display sites you designate as “trusted”, and the Gecko engine to display all other sites. Changing the defaults isn’t difficult — I’ve set mine so it never uses the IE engine — but why should I have to tell this browser to use its own engine? If I wanted to use IE‘s engine, I would open IE, thank you.

The new browser comes a long way from the old Netscape dinosaur, but it’s just quirky enough that I’m certain I’ll stick with Firefox.

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