To keep my predictability up, I'll join in to the numerous voices on the latest and greatest beta version of Safari. Nothing surprising happened and I'll just write down the points I haven't seen elsewhere yet.
Tabs: They're there now, officially. Having done an increased amount of surfing with Safari recently, I didn't really miss them much anymore. Still, it's nice to have the option. A couple of things to observe about tabs:
- While the tabs themselves are arranged aligned-left (good idea, imo), their titles are centered. This reminds people of window title bars, I suppose. What's strange, though, is that – unlike in window title bars – page titles are truncated at the right rather than in the middle. Due to their small width that may be a good idea but it's not really consistent. I'd rather have the text aligned to the left.
- When opening a bookmark, the tab will have the bookmark's title rather than the page's. Is this a bug or intentional? While I found it irritating the first time around, I'm actually starting to find that quite neat.
- No proxy icons in the tabs. I guess it's their decision in the size/recognisability/clean-looks tradeoff.
- Newly generated tabs will be called 'Untitled xx' with xx being the number of their containing window.
- Being an avid user of Unsanity's Demetallifizer, i found a slight disturbance in the
force Aqua pattern where the tabs touch the bookmarks bar. This effect is usually only present in carelessly ported Carbon applications. Even with the window supposed to 'textured', this effect usually hints that something is fishy.
- I find the behaviour of the left-most tab irritating. I'd expect whatever is highlighted when hovering the mouse over it to become active.
- Which kind of substances did they consume to think that attaching the tabs to the bookmarks/navigation/window's title bar rather than the pages that you tab through was a good idea in intuitive interface design?
- There is no drag and drop support. Never mind rearranging tabs – I never had the urge to do that – but Safari could do with
Much like what Camino does already.
- the ability to accept dragged URLs/bookmarks/files into an existing tab, even in the background to go to that location.
- Dito for the blank bits of the tab bar.
- The ability to genrate and drag a bookmark/URL from the tab.
- Similarly to Camino, the tabs' response is very sluggish in Safari while the browser is rendering stuff in there. It doesn't feel very responsive this way. In fact it feels sluggish.
- When opening a folder of bookmarks into tabs, why not give the left-most tabs higher priority? People will want to look at them first.
Language: At a package size of only 10,2MB Safari is now
localised translated to French, German and Japanese as well. When doing size comparisons, people should take into account that each language costs about 1MB. Still work to be done for a proper localisation. Why not use German Google in a German browser?
On moving to the German version, my old bookmarks bar/menu bookmarks appeared in folders with those names, rather than their German counterparts. This suggests that Safari's bookmarks file format isn't/wasn't language independent. The same may be true for the History file, which still lists English dates for me.
Cunningly, Apple has changed the keyboard shortcuts for Back/Forward to Command-Ö/Ä in the German version. This maps them to the keys in the same places as [/] on English keyboards. I still think that having non-uniform shortcuts is a bad idea. And of course (a) it is inconsistent with every other application, even Apple's own 'Finder', and (b) everyone's using the arrow keys anyway. And keeping in mind that the 'argument' for not using the arrow keys for Back/Forward navigation was that they're already used for text navigation, makes you smirk/choke when seeing that Command-Shift-ArrowKeys seem to be appropriate shortcuts for switching tabs.
Find: It's only support for Google still with the little popup menu offering a history rather than a choice of search engines. With that narrow support for one search engine only, however, it should be feasible to have the search field be aware of other searches you make in Google using the on-page field. I often make my initial search using the Google field in Safari and then refine it using the field on the results pages. If I want to re-do that search later, it won't be in the Google field's history.
Bookmarks: While I still like the idea of in-browser bookmarks, I do find Safari's way of handling bookmarks a bit confusing at times. My recommendations which people are surely eager to hear:
- Get rid of the preference pane for bookmarks.
- Put all bookmarks into the bookmarks menu. Populating the menu with bookmarks that are filed elsewhere currently requires you to make a – static – duplicate of the bookmark.
- Give us live filtering like in iTunes. It's much better than "Find".
- When starting from the bookmarks page, I am frequently surprised that the 'Back' button doesn't take me back there.
- I like separators for my bookmarks. Sometimes the menus just grow too long to be good without separators.
- Choosing 'Print' with the bookmarks visible should print those, or not work.
- I'd consider the Stop/Reload button as part of the navigational interface. So why offer to put other buttons between it and the Back/Forward buttons (keep in mind that Safari's toolbar is populated by a unique interface and buttons can note be re-arranged).
- Still no support for printing stylesheets. They do work in Konqueror.
- Although it doesn't look like this at the first sight, Safari's new option to store passwords does put them into the keychain. Let's hope Camino will adapt to the same way of storing them, so they can be shared.
- Auto-Fill information other than passwords seems to be encrypted with the password for it being stored in the keychain as well. It even stores passwords for multiple accounts on the same server separately now. Interestingly, it stores passwords for secure connections with a
htps: URL instead of the more common
https:. Still finds the passwords, though.
- As any Mac browser I remember, one way to slow Safari down a lot, is to load a page with a few hundred check boxes or radio buttons on it.
- Now that there are tabs, accidental closing of pages is bound to happen more frequently in Safari. So where is Undo for closing windows? An undo that restores any text which you may have typed on a page of course. Apple has that kind of Undo in Stickies, btw – which is quite broken in almost every other aspect however.
- Although it's quite clever when it comes to disk images and stuff, the dowload window is still annoying to me. I don't want to see it. When pursuing that aim, it came to my mind that you shouldn't be able to close it while there are active downloads for obvious reasons.
- The bug that makes the location bar not always disappear after un-hiding it using Command-L is still there. Steal the proper behaviour from OmniWeb [Oh my, this site does look extremely broken in OmniWeb].
Seen on Quarter Life Crisis:
- Support for generated content in
:after now exists. Thus users of Safari can finally enjoy knowing the language of a link's target here.
- Loading the pages and scrolling around them a bit will sometimes cause the links at the right to not work and their boxes' borders to not change when the mouse enters. This 'feature' is still present in the new beta.
- Text is still drawn over images, say here at some window widths.
- I am still convinced that the ¶ sign at the end of my headings should be in Zapfino. It is in Camino but it isn't in Safari.
Using the 'links only' link at the top of the page is still strange. One click: nothing. Second click: nothing. Third click: something happens. (Not what I want to happen but that may be my dodgy CSS.)
Enough for first impressions, I guess.
April 14, 2003, 21:26