My RD colleague Venkatarangan mentioned to me that he downloaded the new Mozilla FireFox-based Netscape 8.0 Beta and discovered that it allows users to pick between the Netscape and IE “rendering engines.”
Sure enough, if you click on the Site Controls (shield) icon on a specific tab in the browser, you’re offered your choice of Rendering Engines at the bottom of the dialog:
This is quite convenient, especially because Netscape remembers your preference the next time you visit that particular site. But it’s also quite intriguing, in that Netscape seems to embed the IE browser control in its browser. The irony is striking: if Netscape had succeeded in getting IE ripped out of Windows not so many years ago, its newest browser wouldn’t even run!
By the way, the support for IE is pretty robust. If IE is selected as your rendering preference, and you click on the Advanced tab in the above dialog, you’ll be able to turn ActiveX support on or off! But lest you think that AOL/Netscape and Microsoft are making nice, beware of the following warning box that the Netscape guys chose to display when users select IE as their rendering choice:
Pretty sophomoric, eh? It’s nice to know some things never change. :-)
Looking past Netscape’s industry-politics-hypocrisy, I must admit I like the browser. Even if the whole UI is quite busy, the tabbed interface is beautifully integrated, the Sidebar, the Multibar and its trays collection are quite handy, and the now requisite pop-up blocker and form-fill/password minder seem good (haven’t played with them much yet though). I look forward to checking out the integrated RSS functionality. I’ve read that Netscape 8 is a bit buggy, but in my admittedly cursory review of it I’ve haven’t stumbled across any anomalies yet.
Good thing Microsoft decided to come out with an IE7 beta this summer. I expect major improvements in it (and was briefed via conference call on many of them on Thursday), but beyond playing leap-frog, my hope is that Microsoft never lets the browser go this long without an update again.