Menu

Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Leopard wish list – Part one: Safari

November 10, 2006

I fully realize that my “wish list” that I will be publishing is coming a little late to be included in the Spring-time update to the Mac OS – however it is good to note that much of what I am documenting has already been sent to Apple months ago.

The first thing I’m going to tackle is Safari (though I believe that Safari should be updated as a separate application and not part of the OS). I’ll try to focus my thoughts from fixes, to actual bugs, to feature requests.

Fixes

The following are not “bugs” in the traditional sense. I believe that most of the following was done intentionally, I just do not think they should have been done.

Setting your default browser is currently held within Safari’s preference panel. This “feature” definitely gets on the nerves of many and really I can’t figure out why this resides in here. In order to switch from Safari to Firefox you’d need to first open Safari and tell it you want Firefox to be the default browser.

This isn’t to say that Firefox (and other browsers) do not ask if you’d like to use them as the default browser on your system – but this does not mean that this is the proper location for this preference. What if I uninstalled Safari?

The blue RSS button at the top of the browser is fairly misleading. Apple is attempting to “brand” a doc-spec. In other words, they are saying that all “feeds” are RSS. Obviously this is not true. I do not want that icon to change from RSS to ATOM to “WHATEVER” when it applies, I’d much rather see Apple use the unified feed icons to go along with the unified feed theory (another post I have to bring over to my local site soon).

Multiple feeds detection kinda goes along with the above. I suppose this could be filed under a new feature request – but I feel like they might have kept it simple on purpose. I wouldn’t mind seeing a short list pop up with the available feeds for that site. Obviously this would only be useful if web masters actually listed these feeds in their documents.

Feature requests

Safari is definitely a browser for the average user, but I’d like to see a few of the “not so elementary” features from other browsers find their way into the Leopard release of Safari. Why? Because I’d much rather use Safari than Firefox if it only had the following.

Photo description

Bookmark keywords (click to zoom)

Bookmark keywords is something I use heavily in Firefox. I am not sure how widely used this feature actually is, since even browsers like Flock do not currently have this feature built in (and Flock is built off of the same engine and core as Firefox). Side note: I’ve been told that Flock 1.0 (due out sooner than later) will have these features as it will be built off of the Firefox 2.0 release.

To explain really quick, for those that are not familiar with this feature – Bookmark keywords allow you to setup shortcuts for your bookmarks. Let’s say that you had a rather long URL that you visited often, and you didn’t want to traverse your long list of bookmarks in order to get to that page without typing in the name manually, you can setup a shorter keyword for that. (see screenshot) You type in that keyword, and poof, you’re there.

Searchable history is not something I use every day, but when you need it – you find it very handy. I suppose I could liken a searchable history to Spotlight. Before Spotlight was introduced we never knew how much of a pain it was to find things on our local system. But, after having Spotlight for awhile now, I find it indispensable. Such is the case with searchable history. Safari’s history menu is crude – and needs a significant update.

Update: As Nathan pointed out the history in Safari is indeed searchable. But I would have never found it if he hadn’t told me where it was. So the UI needs to be adjusted to make this much more accessible.

Final thoughts

Really my requests for Safari are very light and don’t hold a ton of water when it comes to my decision to use Firefox instead of Safari. There are other, underlying, reasons why I use Firefox that are much more “under the hood” type of reasons. For instance, many WYSIWYG editors inside of various web applications do not function properly within Safari. Hopefully, with the very latest version of Web kit no doubt being included in the upcoming release of Safari, we’ll see some of this functionality made available.

I remember the first day I wanted to jump ship from Safari to Firefox. I wanted to use Google Calendar and couldn’t because Safari was not a supported browser. But now that I rarely use any online web applications – I may switch back and deal with my little niggles mentioned above until they become available (hopefully) in the next release.

Note: Be sure to check out other parts of my Leopard wish list listed below:

  1. Part one: Safari
  2. Part two: Mail
  3. Part three: iChat
  4. Part three: Finder

[tags]leopard, mac os x, osx, macintosh, apple, safari, wish list, browsers, flock, firefox, bookmarks, history, rss, feeds, atom[/tags]

[slug]leopard-wishes-pt1-safari[/slug]