Ken Case, director of engineering at the Omni Group has announced the company's plans for version 4.1 of OmniWeb, its critically acclaimed browser for Mac OS X.

"The focus of OmniWeb 4.1 is compatibility. We aim to ship it by the end of summer with complete Netscape compatibility, better Java support, Flash 5 support and improved support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)."

Case revealed that once OmniWeb 4.1 has shipped, the company will be able to adjust sections of the application, replacing elements of it with new technologies that will improve compatibly.

He said: "For example, 4.1 will use SpiderMonkey as its JavaScript engine, rather than the old code that we licensed from Netscape in 1997."

He also revealed the presence of a bug between Flash 5 and Carbon plug-ins. "We now load Macromedia's Flash 5 plug-in, which gives us a bug that means we have to work around some integration issues with using Carbon plug-ins in our Cocoa application.

"In around nine months OmniWeb 5 will update the architecture for our rendering engine, enabling us to completely support more Web standards, and it should address some performance problems with our current design, especially with respect to large tables. I know Web developers are chomping at the bit for us to add such support right now, but our first priority is to make existing commercial sites work, so people don't have to switch to Internet Explorer to read their Web email or bank online."

The company has also released OmniWeb 4.0.5, which adds Spanish, Dutch and Italian language support, bringing the browser's number of supported languages to nine. This update also boosts performance and fixes bugs.

The Omni Group has a head start in OS X development. The company was founded in 1993 and developed for Steve Jobs' object-orientated operating system, NeXT.