Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web
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Unicode Polytonic Greek
for the World Wide Web

Version 0.9.7

D R A F T

Mozilla, Netscape 6, Netscape 7, and Related Browsers

Overview

Mozilla is an open-source project founded by Netscape to create a fully open-source and cross-platform web browser, e-mail, and web page composer suite. Mozilla serves as the foundation of a number of commercial and non-commercial web browser applications, most significantly the Netscape commercial web suite (versions from Netscape 6 on) for Windows, Macintosh (including OS X), and Unix, and the Chimera web browser for OS X.

Mozilla-Based Applications

Open Source

Nightly builds of the Mozilla browser are released on the Mozilla.org website

Enabling Unicode

If you have a Unicode font, you've followed these instructions, and you are looking at this page, you should see the Greek just fine. Note that Web browsers usually can detect whether a page is encoded in Unicode by something called a META tag; if the web designer included a META tag indicating the UTF-8 encoding, from here on Netscape should automatically select Unicode when it's needed. Unfortunately, most web designers don't include the encoding META tag; for those pages (including e.g. Perseus), you may have to select View > Character Set > Unicode (UTF-8) the first time you access a Unicode page on that site (from then on it should be ok for that session at least).

Mozilla

Overview

For those who like to live on the edge, there's Mozilla and the related Netscape 6 beta. Mozilla is an open source browser written by Netscape and an open source developer community (see their website, Mozilla.org). It is currently in beta (under development). Mozilla releases a new version of the browser almost every weekday, however, the stability of this version slides up and down depending on how recently how many changes have been made to the code. Particularly stable builds are the so-called Milestone releases, available every month or two; these are released after major binges of bug fixing and sometimes work as well as one could hope any browser might. At this time, the current Milestone is M18; the released version (Mozilla 1.0) is expected to be released in early 2001.

Mozilla is fully cross-platform compatible: the browser should look and work pretty much the same in Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Unix, OS/2, and any other environments for which a build has been made available. One can download the source code of Mozilla and try to create a build for any operating system that can handle the demands Mozilla makes (a lot of memory, for one thing: don't even think about trying to use it with less than 64 MB of RAM).

Netscape 6.0 is based upon Mozilla M18. Most of the instructions for Netscape 6.0 above will also work for Mozilla.

Mozilla is designed to be 100% compliant to the standards it implements; the only non-standard technology it features is XUL, and because it is licensed as a kind of open source software, XUL technologies can be adopted by any software maker. Right now, Mozilla is the most standards compliant browser there is, and arguably the best in many other ways as well; it's only major drawback is the fact that it is still under development (the open source model leads to enormous development times) and therefore still buggy. Also, support for XSLT is not yet available for Mozilla, nor is support for the old gopher protocol.

Above under Netscape I referred to Mozilla's ability to change it's "skin" - the Mozilla project has three skins available, Classic, Modern, and Blue, and a number of other skins are widely available (NeoClassic, which was designed to be the skin for the never-released Netscape 5).

Enabling Unicode

If you have a Unicode font, you've followed these instructions, and you are looking at this page, you should see the Greek just fine. Note that Web browsers usually can detect whether a page is encoded in Unicode by something called a META tag; if the web designer included a META tag indicating the UTF-8 encoding, from here on Netscape should automatically select Unicode when it's needed. Unfortunately, most web designers don't include the encoding META tag; for those pages (including e.g. Perseus), you may have to select View > Character Set > Unicode (UTF-8) the first time you access a Unicode page on that site (from then on it should be ok for that session at least).

Screenshots

History

In 1996, the Mozilla Project discarded all existing Netscape code and create the web browser from scratch, using cross-platform technologies to attempt to make a single, standards-compliant web browser that would look and work the same on every widely-used computing platform.

Current versions of Mozilla (1.0, 1.1) were designed to be 100% compliant to the standards they implement.

Netscape 6 is based upon early, pre-release versions of the Mozilla open source web browser. Unfortunately, time constraints forced Netscape to release the browser with a large number of usability bugs. It is not recommended.

Another feature of Netscape 6 is that it was designed to be cross-platform compatible: thus the browser should look and work pretty much the same in Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and the other environments it's released for. One can download the source code of Mozilla and try to create a build for any operating system that can handle the demands Mozilla makes (a lot of memory, for one thing: don't even think about trying to use it with less than 64 MB of RAM).

One feature of Netscape 6 and Mozilla is the ability to change it's "skin" - Netscape 6.0 comes with two skins, Classic, which looks somewhat like Netscape 4.7, and Modern, which has a new (and to some minds amateurish) 3-dimensional look. The same process that makes creating skins for Mozilla browsers (like Netscape 6) so easy also allows a number of features to be added to skins, so that in effect one can package Mozilla as any of a number of different browsers, all sharing the layout of pages and some aspects of functionality but with different functions. The most compelling such package is the Aphrodite package formerly offered by the lamented Cambridge, MA company Alphanumerica (and not just because they got the name of the package right!), which features a number of very usable interfaces, several of them featured in the screenshots below. Current versions of Aphrodite are being worked on by the same developers, and are available at the Mozdev website.

Later Text

For those of you who prefer Netscape products, you may already have a version of Netscape capable of reading Unicode Polytonic Greek: all versions of the Netscape web browser for Windows after Netscape 4.x (which is to say, Netscape 4.0, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.7.1-4.7.9, Netscape 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.1, 6.1.1, 6.2, etc. and Netscape 7.0) support Unicode polytonic Greek. If you have a version of Netscape higher than 4.5, you should be relatively ok. If you don't, consider upgrading to Netscape 7 or Netscape 4.79 (if you are nervous about Netscape 7, which is a far superior product to Netscape 6).

If you do prefer Netscape products but have a version of Netscape earlier than 4.5, I would strongly suggest that you wait a few weeks and download Netscape 7. You can go to the Netscape website and click the "Download" link to download the latest versions of Netscape (7.0 will be released some time in August or September of 2002; Netscape 6.0, which is not recommended, was released on 14 November 2000).

With all the versions of Netscape after 4.5, all you need to view webpages in Unicode is the main browser.

If you're adventurous, try Mozilla: this is the open-source browser created by Netscape and other developers upon which Netscape 6 and 7 is based, but current versions of Mozilla are more advanced than Netscape 7 (and far, far stabler, faster, and easier to use than Netscape 6). The best versions available at the time this page was last updated were Mozilla 1.0.1 and Mozilla 1.1b (beta). Mozilla 1.0.1 is the version of Mozilla upon which Netscape 7 will be based; Mozilla 1.1b is a more advanced version that is somewhat less ready for everyday use. If you are going to install Mozilla, it is suggested that you begin with the installation version (installer.exe) for Windows of Mozilla 1.0.1, which can be downloaded from http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/release-notes/.

Even Mozilla 1.0.1 should be treated as beta-quality software. It also lacks some of the annoying bells and whistles (like AOL Instant Messenger, though it does have the e-mail and composer clients). Versions with version numbers 1.1 and higher are also usually less stable than version 1.0.1, and there are daily builds which introduce new features, new corrections, and often new bugs. Mozilla is not for the faint of heart.


 Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web Version 0.9.7
 Copyright © 1998-2002 Patrick Rourke. All rights reserved.
D R A F T - Under Development
 Please do not treat this as a published work until it is finished!
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