Microsoft said Version 4.0 for the Mac, in beta since this summer, will include a Java virtual machine that supports Version 1.1.3 of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Development Kit (JDK); Microsoft's compliance with Sun's JDK is currently the subject of a lawsuit. Microsoft said Explorer's support for the company's Cabinet archive format, also included in the release, will enable faster loading and viewing of Java applets.
Other new features in Explorer 4.0 include an offline browsing tool that downloads Web sites in the background for later viewing. The software now supports Cascading Style Sheets, an emerging standard for positioning elements on Web pages, and enhanced back and forward buttons that display a menu of previously viewed sites, Microsoft said. The upgrade's Explorer Bar, a tabbed window, will allow users to view browser history, bookmarks, searches and "push" channels.
Internet Explorer 4.0 for the Mac is expected to include support for dynamic HTML, a standard for adding multimedia capabilities to Web sites without animated GIFs or Java, and Channel Definition Format, Microsoft's implementation of push technology. The upgrade is also expected to include a collection of usability enhancements.
Microsoft declined to release a final list of features for Explorer 4.0 at press time.
Microsoft said Explorer 4.0 will be available from its Web site.