Netscape, for a time, made the best browser in the world and enjoyed market dominance.
In late 1995, when Microsoft cottoned-on to the competitive threat the Web posed, the Internet Explorer project was started in an all-out attempt to wrestle control of the emerging platform from Netscape.
Sun began development of Java in 1990 in an attempt to write a language for “smart appliances”. This approach floundered and in 1994, Sun regrouped and set sights on the Web as the delivery platform of choice.
So the Netscape/Sun partnership meant Sun acquired the use of a competitive browser and a delivery system for their strategic technology.
Netscape, on the other hand found a powerful ally against Microsoft. They also aimed to out-manoeuvre Microsoft by being the official browser of the highly anticipated platform that was Java.
- automatic semicolon insertion (ASI)
- automatic type coercion when using common operators like ‘==’
- lack of block scoping
- lack of classes
- lack of dedicated modularisation capability
- unusual inheritance (prototypical)
As we will see in later posts, there is merit to some of these criticisms.
LiveWire and the powerful nature of the language betray the true ambitions of Andreessen and the Netscape team, foreshadowing a possible future beyond being a just Java companion.
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