Back to 6/96 Reviews System: Packard Bell Platinum Pro
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 6/96 Reviews SW: Statgraphics Plus 2.0

6/96 Reviews SW: Netscape Navigator Gold 2.0

Complete listing of June 1996 reviews

Web Browser/Builder Is Good as Gold

(Editor's Note: The WinMag Box Score: rates products on installation, usability, supporting materials, functionality, performance and utility. Our overall ratings follow this scale: 5,Outstanding or breakthrough product, best of its kind; 4, Exceeds expectations, superior to most competing products; 3, Works well, meets all our expectations, no major problems; 2, Has serious difficulties or limitations; 1, Has critical flaws. A list of recommended products follows the Reviews section.)

By Cynthia Morgan

Instead of tossing a browser into its Web authoring tool like everyone else, Netscape first built a great browser, then stuffed a few good editing tools into it. The result, Navigator Gold, is justifiably popular even before its official release. With a more stable second-round beta now available, this potent combination is liable to become standard packaging for future Web tool suites.

No matter which side you're on in the current Web Holy War between Microsoft and Netscape, you'll find the NavGold browser, Navigator 2.0, to be a top-line Webgrazer with everything you'll need on the Web. You can find text, graphics and Web sites you like online-or within your own files-and drag them directly into your Internet or intranet pages. NavGold manages the links.

Navigator 2.0 offers full multimedia support; it accepts tags from the proposed HTML 3.0 standard and progressive JPEGs. It offers a plethora of plug-ins, from Adobe Acrobat viewers to video players, that link directly to Navigator.

Integrating page-design software into an excellent browser makes the best-and worst-kind of sense. It is easy to learn new tricks with an old product. But using NavGold's seductive array of non-HTML 2.0 extensions could produce pages unreadable by other Web browsers, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

NavGold's wizards and professional-looking templates do most of a newcomer's page creation virtually unassisted. Answer a few questions in Web Starter, type in your favorite URLs, choose attractive backgrounds, colors and graphics, and-presto!-you have a home page. Netscape also offers extensive lists of service providers eager to give your home page a home.

NavGold is weak at converting nonstructured files to HTML and offers few of the advanced features of standalone HTML editors. (For more on these, see What's Hot) The beta I examined offered little or no help in automating table creation, for example, something much simpler products include as a matter of course. Nor is there much in NavGold for HTML verification.

The program requires an outside text editor, such as Notepad, to manipulate HTML code. Even so, it's easier to add and change content in NavGold than in almost any other Web editing tool I've tested. As long as you can see it in Netscape, you can manipulate it in the editor. You won't be working with Internet Explorer-specific HTML features, such as marquees. You will, however, be working with most Web buzzwords, including Java and Frames. Netscape's Web site ( offers plenty of Java sample code links to get you started.

Since they're online, Netscape's great tutorials, backgrounds and page elements are easy to browse. Connected documentation, however, means you only access it online, a major drawback if you pay for Internet time by the hour. You can buy text versions but you'll lose the continual updating of the electronic version.

Whether you're a serious Web author or an HTML newbie, NavGold should be one more product in your cyberspace tool chest. The program's worst limitation-inadequate support for non-Netscape browsers-will keep it from being the sole implement of a good page designer. But for $79, only $30 more than the browser alone, NavGold is a no-brainer bargain.

Info File
Netscape Navigator Gold 2.0

Price: $79
Pros: Easy to use; excellent help; good HTML editor
Cons: Navigator-centric; help requires live connection
Platforms: Windows 95, NT
Netscape Communications Corp.
800-474-7427, 415-528-2555
WinMag Box Score 4.5
Back to 6/96 Reviews System: Packard Bell Platinum Pro
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 6/96 Reviews SW: Statgraphics Plus 2.0