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Results from our October 1st Survey- by Chris Wenham
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Chris Wenham is the Editor-In-Chief of OS/2 e-Zine! -- a promotion from Senior Editor which means he now takes all the blame.

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What browser are you using? And what browser do you think you'll be using 6 months from now? The question arose in our minds soon after the release of Netscape Communicator 4.04 for OS/2. What we wanted to know was how fast do OS/2 users adopt new technology, and what other alternatives do they try out as well? While under ideal circumstances we would have simply asked you to name your browser rather than pick it from a drop-down list, trying to tabulate misspellings, typos, and the myriad of versions would be a nightmare.

The results show that OS/2 users are rapid adopters of new browsing technology, with a handful who shun the status quo and go with a non-Netscape browser. We had a total of 1350 valid votes for last issue's survey. A vote is considered valid if it contains both an e-mail address, answers all questions, and is not a duplicate.

What browser are you currently using?

Amazing though it may seem, already the majority vote (49%) was for Netscape Communicator 4.04. Keep in mind that this survey was run barely a week after the release, that's a pretty fast rate of adoption! Following that very closely indeed was Navigator 2.02 with 47.5% The rest was spread rockily over the remaining options. Seems as if barely anyone uses "good old" WebExprorer anymore, even though it's been bundled with OS/2 since Warp 3. Perhaps this might give consolation to Netscape in their fight against the bundled Internet Explorer.

A small number of readers (5 in all) voted for Lynx - the one text-only browser listed in the options.

What browser do you anticipate using in 6 months?

Again, the majority vote was for Communicator, but this time at a whopping 72.9%, 982 votes in all. What's interesting is that more readers (141) thought they'd be using Opera for OS/2 (if it's released in that time frame) than Navigator 2.02 (110 readers). But only 74 thought they'd be using Warpzilla - the currently developing port of the free-source browser from Netscape.

It also seems as if the same 5 die-hard Lynx users from before didn't plan on changing either. Must be something about that browser.

How important is it to have an XML capable browser available for OS/2?

This is the one question for which the responses caught us off guard. The majority of readers, 28.5% of them, had no idea what XML was, which possibly says more about how important (or unimportant) XML really is.

In brief terms, XML (short of eXtendable Markup Language) is designed to be a replacement for HTML that allows for custom tags and much greater flexibility for describing the contents of a page. You could invent a tag called <PRICE> and use it to denote the prices in your web catalog, for example. Yet the format is also supposed to be usable by other programs too, perhaps evolving into a universal file format capable of handling databases, address books, spreadsheets and whatever else. The trouble is, it isn't in very widespread use yet, and there's the possibility that it may be fractured by the ongoing war between Netscape and Microsoft. In the meantime, HTML serves quite well.

Complete October 1st Survey Results

What is your current browser?

Netscape Communicator 4.04 (Beta or GA)66149.0%
Netscape Navigator 2.0264147.5%
Other OS/2 browser30.2%
Other Windows browser211.6%
Opera for Windows100.7%

What browser do you anticipate using in 6 months?

Netscape Communicator 4.0498472.9%
Netscape Navigator 2.021108.1%
Opera for OS/214110.4%
Other OS/2 browser100.7%
Other Windows browser181.3%

How important is it for an XML capable browser to be made available for OS/2?

Very important26519.6%
Not important1279.4%
Who cares?473.5%
What is XML?38528.5%

Copyright © 1998 - Falcon Networking ISSN 1203-5696
October 16, 1998