Thoughts on software and life.

Friday March 4

Netscape 8

It has been nearly five years since I developed the visual themes for Netscape 6 and 7. I remember how fun it was to create such a novel user interface that really stood out from all the other software on my system. However, after a year or two of looking at this lovely piece of art all day while I browsed the web, it became apparent that, of all software, a web browser isn't supposed to stand out. It's the web pages inside the browser that are supposed to hold the user's attention. That's why one of the first things we did when creating Firefox was to throw out the Modern theme and revert to the standard look and feel of the OS.

Sadly it seems that the folks that created Netscape 8 are also about to learn this lesson the hard way.

Looking at this beast I can just see a room full engineers trying to figure out how to cram all of their exciting new features into the toolbars. I wish I could have been there to witness the excitement when they realized that they could fit the weather widget in just by shifting the menubar to the right side of the titlebar. Genius!!

Now the only question is, how long will this delay the release of IE7 while Microsoft thinks up a way to top Netscape's amazing shopping search widget technology?

Game on, Dean.

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