Safari 4 comments

I just got home and have had a look over Apple’s Safari 4 page. Let me add my voice to the chorus which is doubtlessly ringing out now across the Internet.

Stuff I’m pleased with:

  • Tabs on top: while many will doubtlessly complain about this being a "violation" of the Human Interface Guidelines, I think this is a fantastic piece of innovation. Apple just saved a bunch of screen real estate in an elegant and aesthetic manner. Now watch the countless products which have copied older iterations of Apple’s tabbed interfaces scramble to replicate the new fashion.
  • Full history search: awesome. This is going to be a real time saver, and combined with the page thumbnails in the results listing, finding stuff you’ve previously seen is going to be an absolute breeze. God bless Core Data. I wonder if it will work from Spotlight (and I imagine that it will).
  • Top Sites: so much more fun than reading a boring old feed reader!
  • Full page zoom: a nice touch.
  • Speculative loading: anything that makes pages load faster is a welcome thing.
  • Acid 3 compliance: while this doesn’t really have a direct, real-world benefit, it is a nice feather in cap for the Safari developers, and it’s nice to see Apple at the forefront of the standards compliance community, really pushing the edge in what is a highly competitive realm.
  • Smart search field: a nice enhancement this one.
  • Native Windows look and feel: I don’t use Windows, ever, but seeing as Safari is the browser I spend most time in I’m happy with anything that is going to help its cross-platform appeal.

Stuff that sucks:

  • "Smart" Address Field: Check out this image from the feature listing; Apple now hides URLs when it offers auto-complete suggestions. Who in hell thought that hiding the frickin’ URLs from the address bar would be a good idea?

Stuff I’m indifferent about:

  • Nitro engine: Safari 3 is already fast enough for me, but the push for JavaScript performance is a good thing, at least in part. The only fear I have is that as it becomes more feasible to deploy really complex JavaScript applications, we’ll see more and more hideous, resource hungry JavaScript-driven sites.
  • Cover Flow: can’t really see myself using this myself, apart from when doing history searches.
  • HTML 5 offline support: As a web developer, it’s just yet another thing to learn; and yet another cutting-edge technology that won’t be supported in the majority of installed browsers for a long, long time.

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