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Certifying Your Website With Netscape Gecko Browsers

The Netscape Gecko™ browser is now embedded in the popular Netscape 7.x browser (downloaded by 22+ million people) as well as Mozilla, AOL for Mac OS X, and CompuServe.

Many sites are dropping support for the Netscape 4.x generation as continued support for older browsers reduces the functionality you can reuse for all browsers - making development more tedious and costly. Older versions of Navigator (prior to 4.79) have known security issues. The same is true for Internet Explorer 4.x and versions of IE prior to 5.5 and for Netscape versions prior to 7.01.

If you have yet to certify your site with Netscape 6.x or 7.x, this guide will get you started.


1) Download browsers for testing.

Optimally, download the latest Netscape browser, Mozilla, and AOL for Mac OS X for testing.

If you're short on time or bandwidth, download Mozilla 1.0.2. By testing on Mozilla you will immediately identify any browser detection issues that may result from your site only detecting "netscape." Then install the User Agent Spoofing toolbar which lets you emulate the other browsers.

The Netscape Gecko Compatibility Handbook covers these steps in more detail.

2) Preview your site.

If you're currently forking content for Netscape 4 and Internet Explorer 6, you may find your IE 6 content works best in Netscape Gecko browsers. If your site uses client-side detection, switch your browser user agent string to IE 6 to see. (If you're already Netscape Gecko compatible, simply change your detection to "Gecko" to serve the right content to all Netscape Gecko browsers.)

3) Troubleshoot and fix any compatibility issues using DevEdge resources.

If switching the user agent string doesn't solve the issues, check the Netscape Gecko Compatibility Handbook for frequently encountered problems and solutions as well as pointers to helpful resources. Check out DevEdge Tools for development and debugging tools and Tech Central for articles and technotes.

If you have incompatible enterprise applications: please contact us with details about the vendor and application version.

4) Verify your web analytics software correctly tracks Netscape Gecko browsers.

If metrics dictate your browser support decisions, it's critical to track "Gecko" in your web server logs to capture the total population of Netscape visitors using the various browsers embedded with Netscape Gecko.

5) Distribute the browser.

It's easy add your own links, logo, sidebar tabs, and other content to Netscape 7.01. Then distribute it free through the Netscape Browser Distribution Program.