The word is that 4.0 will go into beta in September or October and - as usual with Netscape - the product will be available in the public domain as it goes through bug-squashing and feature-tweaking. The scheduled ship date is in the first half of 1997.
The 4.0 spotlight will fall on support for intranet groupware, according to reports. Netscape is adding tools for Webmasters to create collaborative apps for use with Navigator and the Navigator Gold editor. New HTML layout tags will allow multiple browser windows to be opened simultaneously. Also slated are:
- Frames that can appear without borders or scroll bars.
- The ability to read and compose E-mail messages without a live Internet connection. Filters and automatic replies for mail and discussion groups will also be available.
- Full drag-and-drop text editing.
- S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) support for encrypted E-mail.
- IMAP4 (Internet Message Access Protocol Version 4) support for maintaining synchronised offline and online mailboxes.
Meanwhile, the latest beta version of Navigator 3.0, beta 5, accelerates performance of Java app-lets, and supports more HTML enhancements. New:
- Borland Just-In-Time Java compiler for Windows 95.
- Newspaper-like multi-column text layout for HTML.
- More font flexibility including strikeout and underline functions.
Netscape declined to comment.