Thursday, June 14, 2007

From Safari to Firefox, and back again!

Well, I have to say, I love the new Safari 3.0 beta.

I was an avid Safari user until a few months ago. I switched to Firefox for the following reasons:

  • Asks before closing a window with tabs
  • Able to reopen tabs after crash (with the Session Manager add-on, it even saves text you were typing in forms!)
  • Allows opening a tab in a new window (but needs to refetch the page)
  • Less annoying download status (with the Download Statusbar plugin)
  • Absolutely kick-ass website debugger: the Firebug add-on.
  • Extensibility through add-ons and themes
  • Works with slightly more websites
So I switched, and suffered through the things that aren't so nice about Firefox, such as no real integration with OS X (Keychain, application launching etc), some graphical glitches and general clunkiness.

Consider me biased, once you're used to being given applications that Just Work and do the sensible thing 99.9% of the time, you become, shall we say, sensitive to less well thought-out applications. Firefox is an impressive effort, but in part due to its cross-platform requirements, it's somewhat lacking on OS X. Safari goes the extra mile for you, like slowing down Flash animations when you're not looking at them, and waiting until you look at a tab to activate animations.

And now Apple released version 3.0 beta of Safari, for free, including a Windows version! Magically, Apple's engineers have seen the things I disliked about Safari 2.0 and fixed them:

  • Asks before closing a window with tabs
  • Able to reopen tabs after crash (from the History menu)
  • Allows opening a tab in a new window, you can just drag it off the bar (without refetching!)
  • You can even move a window back to a tab bar, all with spiffy animations of course
For extra chunkyness, they added a Web Inspector as well, which more or less shows what Firebug would show. All you need to do to see it is enable the Safari debug menu and it's right there. Firebug is still slightly more useable, and it allows you to change the page while it's loaded, but still kudos to Apple for adding it!

Safari 3.0 has those little touches you get from Apple, for example extra-visible highlighting when searching for something, or resizeable text boxes for when those forms just aren't big enough. Very nice.

Heartily recommended. Download it now.