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Goodbye to Netscape; the browser that brought the “web” to the masses…

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From following Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus blog post “The demise of Netscape Navigator” (which in turn references the Guardian’s “In praise of netscape” (Sat 1st March 08)) I was first informed of the passing of one of the major forces in the web today; the “Netscape Navigator” browser… When I first came to the web as an aspiring young … well, if I’m totally honest, as a degree student looking for a way to waste time that didn’t involve alcohol, drugs or … really anything that involved me spending too much money… well, it was quick to get lost in it.

Back in those days, I was trying to write for all browsers – not that it was too hard a thing to do; we had hardly the fully fledged, feature-filled things we have today. Still, I remember fondly writing html code to display in Mosaic, in lynx, in NCSA Navigator and then, Netscape Navigator 2 (then 3 which introduced FRAMES :) ) and so on. Very quickly, Netscape became my browser of choice; I remember writing simple shopping cart style demo-sites using JavaScript; testing in Netscape 2 and 3 and then adding “flash look and feel” things to it; designing animated gifs using a mixture of paintshop pro and microsoft paint (I know) with a couple of bespoke tools. I learned a lot about “bad design practices” (mostly through engaging in them myself and wondering why nobody could access my sites :) ) and so on; then moving to Netscape 6 before dabbling with Mozilla for a long while, eventually settling on firefox…

I probably would have moved towards the web in my own way, in my own time. But it was Netscape that facilitated that. That made it fun. Even if they did throw the cat among the pigeons with their flagrant abuse of (HTML) standards and so on; it was competition. It raised the game and brought innovation to the web. Like the Guardian’s article says, Netscape paved the way for everything we have today. Facebook, Myspace, Amazon et al. Were it not for Netscape bringing the web to the masses; without that vision and drive… we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So today, my browser of choice is Firefox; the child-spawn that has come of age, birthed from the ashes of Netscape/Mozilla. My art package of choice is the Serif PaintPlus (6) software and my HTML/code editor of choice… is 50/50 Macromedia Dreamweaver (4) / Notepad … some things never really change…

(It’s kind of odd feeling nostalgic for a piece of software… I wonder if people get the same feeling for Lotus 1-2-3 or the various DOS spreadsheets that once existed… sighs)

Written by Mas

March 4, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Posted in nostalic whimsy

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