"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 17 October 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

A Requiem for the Server Push


[Word Server Push]

It was only a mere 7 months ago

that Netscape introduced the

server push with the release of

Mozilla 1.1, triggering an

alarming groundswell in

otherwise mundane pages

punctuated with pitiable stabs

at multimedia. The server push,

or the "spush" as we

affectionately refer to it,

obviously struck a chord with

the Web community. Featuring

"pretty moving pictures," it

evoked nothing if not a wayward,

retarded stepson of our old

nanny, the television.


But the last half-year has proven

that Web-years make dog-years

seem plodding, and Netscape's

once novel gimmick has become

technologically passé

even as it's become ubiquitous.

For if this flashy little kludge

has not been thoroughly

emasculated through rampant

overuse (even Hot "will not be

using any x-mozilla-html-specific

tags. Period." Wired has gotten in

spush action), last week's

release of Mozilla 2.0 and its

promise of countless multimedia

plug-ins will conclusively

render it obsolete - a mere

historical footnote in the story

of the Web.


And as we prepare for the vast

impending Webmedia revolution,

it would be tactless of us to

seize the opportunity to cast

dispersions upon those pioneers

who put spinning chairs, smoking

stamps, and rotating bananas to

use in the misguided pursuit of

"compelling content." Instead,

we'll take this opportunity to

consider how the spush figures

into the history of the Netscape

Corp. (which, by now, is only

perfunctorily dissimilar to that

of the Web at large.)


[Netscape Server Push]

Even upon its first release,

Mozilla evinced signs of what

would turn out to be its

signature: bandwidth brutality.

The buzz-generating feature back

in the 0.9b days was the promise

of speed. Announcements

trumpeting this breakthrough

without mentioning specifics

were intriguing, but Netscape

Mosaic's methodology (employing

a default of four simultaneous

connections as compared to the

other Mosaic's one) was an

unexpected achievement.

Viciously unexpected, in fact,

as Web servers around the globe

crapped out in unison as the

quadrupled load brought them to

their knees.


At the same time, Netscape firmly

allied itself with the "design"

side of the structure/layout

feud, weighing in with its

homespun <CENTER>, <BLINK>,

and <FONT> tags. Mozilla's new

tricks spread across the web

like a particularly nasty virus,

heralding the advent of the

"<BLINK>Enhanced for Netscape</BLINK>"



Netscape soon had a sizeable

segment of the web fellating it

on demand, and its release of

Mozilla 1.1b was akin to a

prison heavy offering a

good-natured pat on the head to

his favorite punk. Backgrounds,

though destined to a life of

tasteless and indiscriminate

submission, launched a new era of

web publishing, and the

commencement of support of

tables and our special friend,

the server push, provided

fertile soil ripe just begging

to be mined by enterprising

electronic pamphleteers.


Last week, with the release of

the still-buggy 2.0, Netscape

has made good on its promises of

diverse gimmickry with a Mozilla

built around an open

architecture ripe for

exploitation by the post-<BLINK>

merchants of the future.

Soundtracks, exotic

buttoneering, inline video, and

of course, even more absurdly

pervasive animation flash is

creeping up on a terminal near



[Organic Online Server Push]

And while the old guard of

novelty peddlers will most

likely be forced to return to

their once-despised jobs as

Jack In The Box fry chefs, their past

glories will live on as

artifacts of an age in which the

vast legions of easily amused

once focused their attention for

a fleeting moment, stopped

fidgeting, and pondered the

semiotic ramifications of

four letters being sucked into a


courtesy of the Duke of URL