Microsoft's Web Outliner
Friday, May 17, 1996 by Dave Winer.
A quick DaveNet...
In the last piece, A Curiosity, in a postscript, I said: "Microsoft is doing a file system browser for Windows. Where will the equivalent functionality come from for the Mac? Netscape? Apple? Microsoft? Somewhere else? Hmmmm.."
I said this too quickly. Here's what I really meant.
Microsoft has been demoing a web browser for Windows that provides an expandable outline of network resources. It's a tall narrow part of the browser window, to the left of the page you're looking at. It displays the hierarchy of web pages that got you to the page. You can navigate in high gear using their outliner.
You can also browse your local file system in the outline. It flattens out the differences between net resources and local resources. It's part of what web browsers do, integrate the local file system with the net, but it's taken to a level beyond that offered by Netscape and others.
No browser on the Mac platform has this capability. I have seen NetFinder. It's nice, but not even remotely close to what I'm talking about. I asked what Netscape's plans are; they expect to provide this, but it wasn't clear if they will do it for the Mac, or when it will ship.
It's possible that Microsoft plans to offer this capability on the Mac, but I asked Paul Maritz, a Microsoft exec, this question at a press conference in March, and he said no; that it was up to Apple. It's possible that he may not have understood the question.
Based on the email I've been getting from people in the Mac community, they don't understand that this feature is in the Microsoft browser for Windows. It's not a small feature. It's not the Finder, it's the integration that counts. The Finder doesn't allow you to browse the net.
It's important that Apple execs not miss this. Thru 1996, the Mac and Windows are roughly at parity in OS integration features with the Internet. Microsoft is planning to pass Apple, has demonstrated their intention publicly, however Apple appears not to be aware of it. Their stated Internet strategy does not take it into account.
I am very impressed with Apple's new web presence!
A tremendous leap forward.
Credit where credit is due.
I wonder what tools they're using?
Congratulations and best wishes to Stewart Alsop, who is leaving InfoWorld to become a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a Baltimore venture capital firm.
He will continue to write his personal column for InfoWorld, and run IDG's Agenda conference.
Stewart should do well as a venture capitalist because he is passionate about technology and people.
I received email yesterday from Chris Evans, firstname.lastname@example.org, saying that Natural Intelligence had closed a deal with Apple to license their Java Runtime environment for inclusion in the Macintosh operating system. A press release is expected today.
If this proves true, it's a boon for Natural Intelligence, a small development and consulting company in Cambridge, MA; and a blow to Symantec, Metrowerks (and Sun?) all of whom make Macintosh runtime environments for Java apps.
Microsoft is making deals too. They announced on Tuesday that MetroWerks would provide the ActiveX runtime environment on the Macintosh.
What's Symantec doing?