Safari Extensions Blog

The natural successor to the defunct Pimp My Safari.

Apple Safari 4 Beta

Or as I prefer, Apple Safari Chrome.

If you have any InputManager plugins installed, you’ll probably need to uninstall them to run this. 1Password crashes and PithHelmet screws up the rendering.

Safari vs Mozilla

Safari with Gmail is just one frustration after another, so I moved to Camino and I never thought I’d look back. But now I use Mailplane to access my Gmail e-mail, and there’s no compelling reason for me to stay on Camino anymore, so I thought I’d give Safari another try as my main browser.

Speed

Camino is fast, much faster than Firefox, but Safari is still the fastest. In my unscientific and perceived tests, Safari seems to render pages just a fraction of a second faster than Camino, but its the frequency of the lock-ups I get from Camino — especially when I try to open multiple tabs — is my biggest annoyance with it.

Rendering

Text rendering in Safari has historically been superior to Gecko, but the new 3.0.3 seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Originally, when faced with a typeface that didn’t have a natural italic, it substituted with an appropriate alternative, which is much superior to Firefox and Caminos method of faking the italics by slanting the roman text.

With the new 3.0.3 Safari, they have reversed this decision and are now faking the italic font. In my opinion this doesn’t look anywhere near as nice as replacing the font, but more importantly the slanted roman Lucida Sans is not as legible as using Lucida Grande Italic:

Safari 2.0: Safari 2.0 Italic Text Rendering

Safari 3.0.3: Safari 3.0.3 Italic Text Rendering

The next version of Camino is supposed to use the cairo graphics library, which in turn can use the newer Core Image instead of the current Quickdraw. This gives all Gecko based browsers — including the next version of Camino — a much better “italic font faker”. In general cairo renders text very well indeed, and a more in-depth look is needed once more stable browsers are released — the latest trunk build of Camino renders all italic text as roman, so currently I’m unable to test it.

Tabs

After using Firefox with Tab Mix Plus and Safari 3.0.3, Camino tabs feel old and tired. You can’t rearrange them, a huge downer for me as I like to organise my tabs into my own little groups, and there’s no way to configure it to open new tabs to the right of the currently open tab, instead of at the far right.

This isn’t to say Safari tabs are perfect, infact without the add-ons mentioned below it would be almost impossible to use Safari. But with the add-ons I much prefer Safari tabs to Camino or Firefox1 especially with the new feature in 3.0.3 where its possible to drag a tab off into a new window.

Add-Ons

Unfortunately for Safari it has a lot of quirks that can’t be solved without third-party software. Fortunately though, there are a lot of add-ons for Safari that makes it — in my eye — bringing Safari to a useable state for my browsing method.

I prefer to have everything in one window, sometimes if you click a link in Gmail, it opens in a new window, even if you Command-click the link. With Saft, you can force Safari to open new links and windows in the browser. For me, this makes it worth its $12 price alone.

Safari has no built-in ad-blocking capability, beside using a custom stylesheet. However PithHelmet makes it a much easier process to add your own blocking rules, and the set of included rules block 95% of the adverts I come across. Its a bargain at $10.

SafariStand is the exception in this list of Safari add-ons, being the only free one. But for me it offers little for me except for syntax colouring in the view source window. However this doesn’t work in Safari 3.0.3 even with the beta version of SafariStand thats compatible with it.

Safari As Your Main Browser

For web designing, you can’t beat Firefox with Firebug, this combination of free software has saved me countless hours, although Safari has something similar, they’ve yet to implement live CSS and HTML editing, which is invaluable when you’re working with complex layouts.

But Safari is an incredibly refined browser compared to the oafish Firefox and, certain circumstances, ungainly Camino, and that is why I use it as my main browser.


  1. They look ugly and the close button is on the right side of the tab, also known as the wrong side.

iPhone Safari Is The New Internet Explorer 4

He’s got a point:

Facebook, Netvibes and Meebo all launched new iPhone-optimized versions of their sites this week, and all three of them are very nice. But wasn’t one of the promises of the iPhone that it offered “a real web browser?” If that’s so, why all the iPhone-optimized sites? And why are these sites being optimized for the iPhone specifically and not just “mobile optimized?”

Thoughts on Safari

I’ve been using the new Safari for Windows Beta for a few hours now, and here are my collective thoughts:

  • The font smoothing is very nice, once you turn it down to light. The default medium is too strong, and looks stronger than OS X’s medium setting.
  • It crashes quite a lot, this really is beta software.
  • Aqua form widgets on Windows! Better than the ugly Firefox ones at least
  • No option to force all links to open in tabs instead of new windows, even when I middle-click. This mainly happens in GMail. Incredibly annoying.
  • No inline spell checker, bah.
  • Damn, it really is fast.
  • Why doesn’t the back button on my mouse work? Seriously, how hard can that be to implement?
  • The inline search is amazingly powerful, I know Firefox has had it for a while but the implementation in Safari is much better.
  • Resizable text boxes making blogging much easier through the WordPress web interface.
  • Strange how many OS X conventions they used for a Windows application, the lack of OK and Cancel buttons in the Preferences window especially. Find if you’re used to them though.
  • Drop down lists render like Aqua widgets sometimes, but other times in some strange style I’ve never seen before.
  • The Windows version is also desperatly crying out for SafariStand of Saft so we can get some more customisation out of it!

Overall a very nice beta that does have it’s fair share of problems. If Apple (or a third party developer) can fix these at the final launch in October, I can see myself switching to Safari on Windows.

Safari for Windows Beta

Supposedly now Safari is the fastest browser for Windows, effectively killing the Swift project.

Phantom Safari tweaks

David Hyatt muses about the Digg article: Speed Up Safari – Remove Page Delay:

In the comments are many testimonials like Oh my gosh! Safari is so much faster now! This just goes to prove how inaccurate people’s powers of perception are when it comes to measuring the performance of browsers. I say this because the preference in question is dead and does absolutely nothing in Safari 1.3 and Safari 2.0.

Firefox’s text rendering bug

I know this has been beaten to death already, but I noticed this on DWBlog and the difference was absolutely striking. Firefox’s italic text rendering is appalling, especially compared to Safari on OS X:

text-rendering.gif

Get this sorted Mozilla.

Essentials

After using a computer every day for the past few years, you start developing your own way of doing things, and then it goes from being your own way, to the only way to use a computer. So here are the applications that you have to use to be able to use a computer. Got it?

OS X

  1. TextMate. I’ve been moving away from Macromedia Dreamweaver for my HTML and CSS editing, and started to use text editors for a more lightweight experience. I do miss the auto-complete and intellisense though. This is also pretty much the best editor for writing Ruby on Rails apps.
  2. Safari. Nothing really competes it for its speed, and its heavy itegration with OS X. Firefox is too slow, Camino doesn’t really offer any features over Safari, Opera isn’t OS X optimised enough and I’m not really interested in other niche browsers at the moment.
  3. Mail. I love it’s interface and searching ability, but I hate some parts of its IMAP support (like its insistance to use its own deleted messages folder instead of the default one on the server), so I’m considering a move to Thunderbird which has excellent IMAP support.
  4. Adium X. There is no competition to it, in any platform. The 1.0 betas have problems logging back on from standby though, but apart from that a slick application.
  5. Seashore. It’s GIMP for OS X, kinda. I only use it occasinally for some resizing and cropping so I can’t really justify a Photoshop license. Not until a Universal Binary is out anyway.
  6. VLC. It works with many formats, it plays any region DVDs. It just works, and it doesn’t suck like Quicktime. I do have quite a large collections of videos now though, something like iTunes for videos would be nice.
  7. iTunes. I have an iPod, enough said? No? Well it has an excellent library system, and organises my files well. But why doesn’t it get lyrics or album art from the internet when I import a CD? It also constantly ask me to authorise my computer to play the one song I bought from the iTunes Music Store, which promptly led me to delete it. iPod integration is crucial though, I can listen partly to a podcast on my iPod, sync it with iTunes, and then iTunes knows where I listened to and I can continue listening at home. Slick.
  8. Quicksilver. An excellent launcher, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve only gotten around to using it as a glorified launcher though.
  9. Witch. I can finally alt-tab between windows instead of applications.
  10. Azureus. I can’t get Transmission working damnit, but Azureus is probably the best featured BitTorrent client so I’m not complaining. Actually I will: double clicking torrent files doesn’t work, its ugly and a slow piece of crap. I wish I could get Transmission working…
  11. Transmit. It’s numerous awards give testimant to the quality of this application, with FTP and SFTP support (no more command line hell with SFTP), it’s my client of choice. It simply has no competition, even with it’s $30 price tag.

Windows

  1. Visual Studio 2005. Nothing comes close to it for .NET development. It has auto-completion, excellent intellisense, code folding, code refactoring and the list goes on. It doesn’t have any testing (unless you plump out for the Team Architect edition, which is worth more than my car), so for that I use NUnit.
  2. Adobe Dreamweaver 8. I’ve still yet to let go of my IDE fetish on Windows, simply because of the quality of the IDEs is staggering (take Dreamweaver and Visual Studio), and the quality of text editors lower than OS X.
  3. µTorrent. A pure Win32 BitTorrent client that runs very smoothly. I didn’t really mind Azureus’ bloat, but the extra polish µTorrent and it’s strong feature set had me sold.
  4. VLC. It beat my previous favourite of BSPlayer as I don’t need to install any damn codecs, and it plays any region DVDs. The interface could do with a revamp though, and it could also do with a library feature.
  5. SmartFTP. Not as good as Transmit, and it crashes more often than I’d like, but it works the best out of all the FTP clients I use. It has a slicker interface than FileZilla.
  6. Notepad++. When I have to use a text-editor, Notepad++ is my one of choice. It’s interface is very dated, and the default font and colours are disgusting. It uses Comic Sans for christs sake! But it has code-folding and proper tabbing support so I’m not really bothered.

Safari Acid

The new Apple Safari 2.0.2 now passes the Acid2 test!

css.php
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Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required '/nfs/c02/h05/mnt/20370/domains/ejecutive.co.uk/html/wp-content/themes/twentyeleven/colors/bbe869a06b07a4d7ec874f3c04e8ed00/sape.php' (include_path='.:/usr/local/php-5.3.29/share/pear') in /nfs/c02/h04/mnt/20370/domains/ejecutive.co.uk/html/wp-content/themes/sandbox/footer.php on line 22