Friday, January 4, 2008

Forward Into the Past - Oracle PowerBrowser

Those of us who are interested in Oracle know that Larry Ellison's greatest desire is to control everything, and I mean everything, on the enterprise desktop.

Oracle has been on such a buying spree over the last few years that you gotta figure that it's only a matter of time before they buy a web browser.

Everybody say oops.

Oracle used to have its own web browser. (Hat tip to Eddie Awad, who got the information from Jake Kuramoto.)

Wikipedia links to a June 18, 1996 article on the PowerBrowser.

Designed from the ground up to meet the demands of corporate users and developers, Oracle PowerBrowser 1.5 is a full-function intranet client that incorporates state-of-the-art Web navigation, a drag-and-drop Personal Server, built-in Java and Basic scripting capabilities, and support for third-party applications called Network Loadable Objects (NLOs). It also includes an easy-to-use Database Wizard that helps users quickly create database-enabled Web applications.

"While the rest of the browser industry fights a language battle, Oracle is continuing its successful tradition of providing customers with a choice of programming languages," said Jeff Menz, senior product manager, in Oracle's PowerBrowser development group. "Millions of developers worldwide already know Basic, and many are excited by the new interactive possibilities offered by Java. Companies looking to build intranets for the long term need a choice of languages, and only Oracle PowerBrowser delivers that flexibility."

Mark Rittman links to an evaluation of PowerBrowser:

If PowerBrowser had received a much needed speed infusion and beefed up its supply of features, it could have had a chance to become a serious competitor to the best browsers on the market; however, with the decision to discontinue development and support for the browser, it's hard to recommend PowerBrowser as a serious alternative for users of Netscape or Internet Explorer.

Pros: Client side processes, tables and frames support, other cool features

Cons: Extremely slow, lacks many critical features relative to other Web browsers

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