UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

  • Email Subscription (Feedburner)

  • Twitter

    Posts on this blog cover ideas often discussed on Twitter. Feel free to follow @briankelly.

    Brian Kelly on Twitter Counter

  • Syndicate This Page

    RSS Feed for this page


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. As described in a blog post this licence applies to textual content published by the author and (unless stated otherwise) guest bloggers. Also note that on 24 October 2011 the licence was changed from CC-BY-SA to CC-BY. Comments posted on this blog will also be deemed to have been published with this licence. Please note though, that images and other resources embedded in the blog may not be covered by this licence.

    Contact Details

    Brian's email address is You can also follow him on Twitter using the ID briankelly. Also note that the @ukwebfocus Twitter ID provides automated alerts of new blog posts.

  • Contact Details

    My LinkedIn profile provides details of my professional activities.

    View Brian Kelly's profile on LinkedIn

    Also see my profile.

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Privacy


    This blog is hosted by which uses Google Analytics (which makes use of 'cookie' technologies) to provide the blog owner with information on usage of this blog.

    Other Privacy Issues

    If you wish to make a comment on this blog you must provide an email address. This is required in order to minimise comment spamming. The email address will not be made public.

The Demise of Netscape Navigator

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 Mar 2008

Netscape Navigator logoAn article entitled In praise of … Netscape Navigator announced  that today (Saturday, 1 March 2008) sees the official end of support for the Netscape Navigator Web browser.

The “In praise of” column does indeed praise Netscape for “opening the web, [and] pav[ing] the way for everything from Google to Wikipedia“.

What the column doesn’t say is the that the browser went from strength to strength after it was launched by ignoring standards bodies and introducing several new proprietary HTML extensions which infuriated HTML standards groups when they were released. As an article in Wikipedia describes:

Through the late 1990s, Netscape made sure that Navigator remained the technical leader among web browsers. Important new features included cookies, frames, and JavaScript (in version 2.0). Although those and other innovations eventually became open standards of the W3C and ECMA and were emulated by other browsers, they were often viewed as controversial. Netscape, according to critics, was more interested in bending the web to its own de facto “standards” (bypassing standards committees and thus marginalizing the commercial competition) than it was in fixing bugs in its products. Consumer rights advocates were particularly critical of cookies and of commercial web sites using them to invade individual privacy.

But why is the Guardian praising Netscape, if the company behaved in this fashion? Well I think the Guardian was right when it says that “Everyone from secretaries to salesmen started logging on” thanks to the initial success an popularity of the browser.  But let’s not rewrite history and suggest that this was due to the software vendor supporting old standards – rather, and ironically, its success was due to flouting the standisation processes and forcing innovations (which, in some cases, subsequently became standardised) through seeking to position itself as the dominant vendor in the marketplace.

Netscape Navigator usageOf course, although they were the dominant player for a short period, this did not last, with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser eventually finding itself as the world’s most widely-used browser, despite the appeal which FireFox has to its admirers.

Strange how  things turn out.

2 Responses to “The Demise of Netscape Navigator”

  1. […] 4, 2008 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 […]

  2. […] challenges such beliefs. Indeed I’ve commented on this previously: we haven’t embraced the open source FireFox browser to the extent which had been expected when the browser was released; conformance with the WAI […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: