Surfin' Safari


More on Safari, Apple's new browser.

  • It feels very fast. Reports are coming in that Chimera's just as fast (check the comments) (and that's not the only one), which may be true, but it still feels faster to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, though.
  • Using bookmarklets is broken. Smarter people than I have already figured out the bug; it has something to do with Apple's DOM implementation, apparently.
  • The font size on this page is simply rendered incorrectly. It's just way too small.
  • Using the address bar as a progress meter is a really neat idea. I would, however like to see what links I'm going to be clicking on.
  • I like the interface and I like the way it uses the bookmarks bar better than any other browser. I don't like the fact that the bookmarks menu can't list all my bookmarks (you have to use the iTunes-esque window to see them all).
  • No tabs, but that's something I can live without. However, it doesn't automagically cascade new windows, so having a whole mess of windows open at the same time is messy.
  • No way to check if a website has changed (ala OmniWeb or IE's subscriptions, not that anyone could ever get subscriptions to work properly). This makes checking a very large blogroll (who, me?) difficult.
  • Two of my favorite things about this browser are very much behind-the-scenes: pop-up killing and automatic rejection of cookies from third parties (like, say, doubleclick).
  • There are a few rendering bugs here and there; see this post for an obvious example.
  • It's a hell of a lot more standards-compliant than OmniWeb, that's for sure.
  • There seems to be a lot of discussion about whether or not going with the KDE rendering engine as opposed to Gecko (the engine behind Mozilla, Chimera, and modern versions of Netscape) was a good idea. Here's the reasoning behind the decision, at least from Apple's point of view. I personally think that it's a good thing, as the more browsers the merrier (as of right now, I have OmniWeb 4.1.1, IE 5.2.2, Chimera 0.6 and Safari 1.0 Beta in my dock, with Mozilla 1.2.1 and 1.3a in the Web Browsers folder). By introducing another rendering engine into the mix, designers will (or should; maybe this is wishful thinking) design for standards rather than browsers.
  • Auto-completetion in the address bar is URL only; it doesn't recognize site titles. Nor does it recognize bookmark names.
  • Speaking of bookmarks, there doesn't seem to be a way to import them from other programs.
  • The Google bar is very nice. Integrates well with the rest of the OS X UI and it even remembers your past searches (like, for example, "name of old high school crush").
  • If you have people in your Address Book who have website urls, Safari can automagically read that list and make it bookmark button. Sweet (no, I don't know how actually useful that is, but it's pretty cool).
  • The zoom button (the little green one) actually works, and it works well.
  • Network performance seems to have some room for upside improvement.
  • Makes very nice use of favico files.
  • You can command-click on the title bar.
  • Command-clicking a link opens it in a new window; shift-command-clicking opens the link in a new window behind the current one. Option-clicking automagically downloads the file to the desktop.

That's all for now. I'll be playing with it more later. I like it enough that it's now the default browser, though I'm still using OmniWeb to manage the blog thing....


It automatically imports from IE, puts it all in its own little folder under the bookmark browser (? Whatever they call it now...)

can we see a screen shot for those of us stuck sans jaguar...and the rest of the windows world?

Safari's ok. I guess part of what bugs me about it is that, well, compared to my browser of choice, /every/ Mac browser sucks.

What browser do I like? Phoenix.

Phoenix is light, and fast. It's based off of Mozilla's codebase, but with many enhancements (and much, much less bloat).

For instance: it has pop-up blocking, but you can, with 3 clicks of a mouse, enable it for a specific site you're surfing if it breaks it.

Another nice thing: drag and drop interface layout. So, for instance, if you don't use the "print" button? Get rid of it, I did. Wish the back/forward/stop/reload buttons were on the right side instead of the left? Drag them there. Like the bookmarks bar but wish it didn't take up an entire "line" of the browser? Drag it up next to the address bar, which auto-shortens to make room for it. (And no, it doesn't interfere with browsing, that mode is only enabled when you right-click somewhere in the interface itself and click customize.)

Yet another: Keyword-enabled, variable-rich bookmarks. What does this mean? I bookmarked the Google search page, with a keyword of google and a variable for the search term. This means I can type "google safari web browser" in my address bar and it will do a google search for the terms "safari web browser" (sans-quotes). I made one for, too, so "dict [word]" in the addressbar will do a dictionary lookup of it.

There are other nice things about it, too, and I've yet to find any other browser that comes close to it in overall... uh... niceness. My Mac OS X browsing experience so far has been very disappointing. It's got gorgeous anti-aliasing, but at the expense of UI.

(Actually I'd say that's my view of Mac OS X in general, so far - it's very, very pretty, but the UI just doesn't feel quite right to me. It's not bad, by any means, and has some obvious improvements over Windows, but it still retains a lot of cruft from the old (OLD!) Mac days (i.e. the original, black and white, non-multi-tasking days).

It's really disappointing, because it has so much potential - I just feel like they need to say, once and for all, to hell with old stuff - even if it means relearning some things, I think they need to stop copying the old Mac UI ideas so closely. Most specifically, the concept that a program stays open (but without any good visual presence) after you close its last window. I know that's been a Mac "feature" since they first introduced multi-tasking, but it's a BAD one. Most people get in the habit of leaving everything open, partially because they can't even remember what's open or not and it's a pain to figure it out. That, in turn, leads to them needing massive amounts of memory in their system to keep it from churning to a halt, and thinking their $5000 state of the art Mac desktop is too slow. (Yes, I used to support a team of graphic designers, why do you ask? ;) ))

*Using the address bar as a progress meter is a really neat idea. I would, however like to see what links I'm going to be clicking on.*

Hm. If you click, hold, and drag a link away, it shows a translucent gray round rectangle with the linked text and the URI.

(aaa, I received your e-mail, but I seem to have misconfigured my e-mail send. I will try to reply this weekend.)

Interesting. It does do that.

But that's a bit of a pain compared to just mousing over something and then looking at the bottom of the window or suchlike....

View Menu -> Status Bar

Or Command - \

To see the status bar and what you're about to click on.

Another thing that's cool about the Google field is that it sets Google to use UTF-8, which is really great when you're searching for non-western text. I normally have to go to language tools etc. to get Google to work right when I want to search in Chinese , but from Safari, it just works. Very nice!

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