Enterprise Software

Netscape: Still kicking butt and taking frames

Netscape may be losing market share to Internet Explorer, but as a Web designer, do you really care? Netscape has some great options, especially when you're building framed sites. Mike Jackman explains how you can use those options.

Sure, compared to Internet Explorer, Netscape’s market share is down. But if your job involves Web design, you shouldn’t care about market share, right? You just need the best tool for the job. And when it comes to developing framed sites, Netscape offers lots of useful features that you won’t find in Internet Explorer.

Use Netscape when you’ve been framed
Netscape’s frame navigation options appear in the menu that opens after you right-click your mouse, but they appear only when you’re browsing a Web site with frames. To see your options, send the browser to a framed site, such as Beverly Hills Software, which is a Windows NT Resource. Now, move your cursor over one of the frames and right-click your mouse. You should see a menu that looks like the one in Figure A. Depending on which version of Netscape you have or where you placed your cursor, you may see a slightly different menu.

Figure A
Right-clicking your mouse over a frame reveals Netscape’s frame navigation options.

There are four options in this menu that will give Web designers some extra clout:
  • Open Frame In New Window
  • Reload Frame
  • View Frame Source
  • View Frame Info

Bust out of the frame
How many times have you come across a Web site in which the developers made a mistake and opened a link in the wrong frame? The result is a cramped, nearly invisible Web page. Right-click and select Open Frame In New Window, and you can view that page in all of its glory.

Speed up site checking
When I design a Web site, one of my most time-consuming jobs consists of updating changes and viewing them online. If a layout doesn’t look correct, I might try a dozen small tagging variations, FTP-ing each variation and checking its appearance on the staging server. In Internet Explorer, clicking Refresh causes each page to reload. In Netscape, all I have to do is right-click and choose Reload Frame. Only the frame that I want will update, which saves me valuable time.

Go right to the source
Let’s say that you’ve found a Web site that has the best navigation menu you’ve ever seen. To find out how it works, just right-click and select View Frame Source. (There are tricks that you can use in Internet Explorer to find out, but they are cumbersome.) If you want to see some information about the frame, all you have to do is right-click and select that option.

Bonus options
Netscape lets you work with frames in many ways. From the File menu, you can save a frame, send a frame via e-mail, edit a frame, and print a frame. Although I don’t recommend that you use Netscape as an HTML editor, Edit Frame is great for downloading the images and the source tagging for study. You can print a frame in Internet Explorer, but you’ll have to drill down one more menu within Print.

Under their Edit menus, both Netscape and Internet Explorer give you the ability to Find within a frame. However, Internet Explorer’s terminology is confusing. In Edit, you select Find (on this page).

As a Web designer, you probably check your work in both Internet Explorer and Netscape. With Netscape’s market share decreasing, however, it’s tempting to blow off Netscape and design for only one browser. Don’t let your company give in to this temptation. If Netscape were to disappear, not only would we lose the kind of competition that helps the Internet develop, but we would also lose a great tool for Web designers. While the different ways in which Netscape and Internet Explorer view the Web can become frustrating, Netscape still has some life left in it.

Mike Jackman is an editor in chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.

The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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