Coding Horror

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Would you rather be a Navigator or an Explorer?

There's an interesting comment in this Amazon user review of The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications:

My favorite entry, especially fun to find in light of Microsoft's legal problems arising in part from its relationship to Netscape Navigator, is this Orwellian directive, found on p. 185: "Navigate. Avoid the verb 'navigate' to refer to moving from site to site, page to page within a site, or link to link on the Internet. [...] Instead, use 'explore' to mean looking for sites or pages generally..."

Would you rather be a Navigator or an Explorer? And what, exactly, is the implied meaning of this IE error:

IE's Navigation Canceled error

The wording of the "Navigation Canceled" error message can't possibly have been a coincidence, given the intense rivalry with Netscape Navigator back in the heady days of Internet Explorer 3 and 4. The message now seems quaint in the wake of Netscape's near-irrelevance. Still, I wonder which cheeky little monkey at Microsoft came up with this particular error message way back when.

Of course, there's a long history of semi-friendly rivalry between Internet Explorer and its browser competition. In 1997, immediately after the release of Internet Explorer 4, Microsoft dropped a giant IE logo on the Netscape campus.

The IE logo on Netscape's lawn

And more recently, the Internet Explorer team sent the Firefox team a cake to congratulate them on the release of Firefox 2.0.

Cake sent to Firefox team by IE team

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: