Re: Netscape v NCSA

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Fri, 14 Oct 1994 05:00:00 GMT

I have it running fine on an HP 735 workstation (HP-SUX 9.03).

The multi-threaded nature of the beast appeals - getting more than one inline
image at once, for example.

Promting for the name of a save-to-disk file while it is being fetched, rather
than afterwards, is also a clever way to give a percieved increase in
performance, as is the interlaced display of slowly-loading inline images. Being
able to interact with, say, a form at the top of the page while inline images
further down are still being pulled in is also a plus.

The news interaction is excellent. I worry, though, if they have a URL to
subscribe, unsubscribe, catch up etc from newsgroups does this mean random
documents can contain these URLs and merrily go writing to your .newsrc?

Are the various extended html tags implementations of HTML 3.0 or are they mcom
specific extensions (like, for example, the viola-specific extensions)? I would
appreciate a pointer to a site containing known HTML 3.0 documents especially
tables, to test out what this puppy can do. The otherwise good documentation is
rather silent on this point, and if Netscape has 3.0 support you would think
they would promote it.

Fonts are a pain to customise, you have to brass your way through two or three
levels of defensive comments in the app-defaults file. A worrying comment says
not to change things because then content-providers html will not look right.
Uh? They are encouraging creation of browser specific html?

Pages with multiple inline images all of which have different colourmaps look
rather better than, say, the M-entity for X (my version has the default number
of colours to allocate for inline GIFs upped from 50 to 200, yet Netscape still
looks better). It appears to do some sort of error diffusion dithering. This
does mean that pages with single, multicolour images (like mcom's home page!!)do
not look as good as with the M-entity, though. Same with pages where multiple
inlines are all adjusted to use the same colourmap (for example, all greyscale).

I have yet to test it out on a proper colour system ;-) I have been using an
8-bit pseudocolour X terminal.

The documentation says something about mcom giving out some specifications to
help interface it with other programs. This may compensate to some extent for
the lack of source code.

I will be interested to see what internationalisation support it has: I have a
feeling there is some in there ;=>