Blogathon 2009: Catherine’s Safari 4 Review

Posted by & filed under Apple, Blogathon 2009, Usability, Web 2.0.

So I switched to Safari 4 from Firefox recently. The end.

Yeah, there’s more, actually.

First, the good parts, the ones that were enough to make me give up Firefox:

  • It’s fast. Really, really fast.
  • Pages you visit get indexed in OSX’s Spotlight. It’s like Google Desktop for Firefox, only not totally ridiculous.
  • While Safari doesn’t include support for Firefox-style extensions, there are a bunch of cheesy hacks billed as plugins that look very similar to the end-user. Apple has indicated they’re going to stop support for these though. Hopefully, by the time they do, Safari 5 will have incorporated some of the functionality of the ones I like.

    I’m using Glims, Safari AdBlock and Inquisitor. Inquisitor is fairly rad, actually. It changes how your search results work and adds support for all your favourite search engines, searching them all in parallel if that’s your thing. (It’s not mine.)

Now, the parts I hate:

  • Selecting text and right-clicking gives you the usual “Search in Google” option. It apparently can’t be changed to open in a new tab by default. So for me, a user who searches lots of strings and opens them in new tabs, I’m forced to Cmd-T new tabs open, copying-and-pasting the text into the search box.
  • I’m not used to having to type a search before I tell Inquisitor where to search. In Firefox, it’s the other way around: you click the dropdown, select “Wikipedia” and then type what you want to find.

Still, these were not huge complaints. If you’re on Firefox on OSX, I’d give Safari 4 a try. Want to sync bookmarks between the two? (And office computers, your iPhone, blogroll, etc?) Get Xmarks.

Mind you, I still have no plans to use anything but Firefox for development purposes. For making sites, Firebug is where it’s at. When casually browsing, however, I just don’t need to be using half my CPU and RAM to display websites.



I definitely agree with MacBlogz’ assessment: “Safari 4: Three Steps Forward, One Step Back

2 Responses to “Blogathon 2009: Catherine’s Safari 4 Review”

  1. Udo Tuxing

    Hello Catherine!

    Long time no see. You seem to be alive and well. I am happy.

    Safari is very good. No doubt about that.

    But I still need Firefox flexibility and would only switch if Firefox would get a lot lot worse. Mozilla spends its Google money to advance the free internet. For Apple Google money is just shareholder value.

    So I think I am doing something good by using FF. The warm fuzzy feeling factor is just higher (for me).
    I am actually a long time supporter. My RL name is in the NY Times Firefox ad etc.

    • Catherine Winters

      Hey Udo!

      Yeah, for me, Firefox just hit that point on my Macbook. I wish it was faster; I’d rather use it, frankly. Sadly, it’s just not up there anymore, and I need something a bit lighter.

      Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I’d wish web development with Safari on my worst enemy, but for day-to-day surfing, I don’t really find myself with a lot of choice if I want speed.