Though Netscape and Microsoft can't seem to agree on a standard for Dynamic HTML (DHTML), the two companies do agree on XML, the eXtensible Markup Language. When Communicator 5.0 ships this summer, Web developers may have something to cheer about: Netscape is going to support XML in its new line of browsers and it will be compatible with Microsoft's offering. Microsoft introduced XML support in Internet Explorer 4.0, though the support is based on pre-XML 1.0, the version Netscape will support. Microsoft has pledged to upgrade XML support in IE 4.0 to the XML 1.0 standard. Best of all, developers can get an early peek at XML in Communicator 5.0 on Tuesday, when Netscape releases the source code to the first beta version.

This is important news for Web developers because Netscape has always taken liberties with Internet standards. But Netscape's Ramanathan Guha insists that XML support in Communicator 5.0 will be completely standards-based, with "no hacks."

"\[Web developers\] will be the ones to decide how XML will be used in Navigator," Guha said. "The developer community for XML has the ownership rights and Netscape is completely behind you. Expect something much better in a couple months, and I'm looking at you guys to do it. We can make this happen really fast."

Web development Glasnost? Anything could happen