Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apple Releases Safari 4 Public Beta

The Good:

So I was told this morning by the internets. I went and downloaded it, yes I did, like a good little apple user. It’s apparently faster. I can’t say as I really notice much, actually. The old one was fast as it was. What, are we shaving a couple milliseconds or something? But hey, faster’s better, so I’m not complaining. Also, so far it seems as though it might actually have a slightly smaller RAM footprint, which is nice. They also introduced a “Top Sites” feature that shows you a collection of your favorite pages at once in thumbnail view. It’s nice in that you can quickly glance at a collection of pages and see what’s been updated and what hasn’t. This works really well with pages that are heavy on large graphics or headliners, such as lolcats or news pages like NY Times. They also moved the tab bar to the top of the window, which has the side benefit of requiring less space to house tabs in the first place, and thus more room to show content.

The Bad
They moved the tab bar to the top. It’s sort of a cool concept, except that the way it’s implemented, current tabs are HUGE and thus the rest of the tabs are teensy, making it hard to read titles. It also serves to push more tabs out of view if you have a whole bunch open at once (like I tend to do). There’s a small issue with tabs on the far left as well, as with the new “close tab” position on the left, it’s awful close to the “minimize window” button, but that’s probably more a minor annoyance.

The Picture that accompanies this blog is a screenshot of mine. Click it for a larger version. It shows both the Top Sites feature, a well as the extraordinarily large active tab issue I was talking about.

Thankfully I found
a link to a site that has some hidden prefs you can use to revert back the tabs to the old-style. Honestly though I’m just not sure if it’s worth it. I mean, I might just revert back to the regular ol’ Safari 3. Because – by the time all’s said & done – if I do all these cool little hacks to make Safari 4 more like Safari 3, all I’m left with is a 2-millisecond improvement in loading times, and the “Top Sites” feature. And while cool, it’s not a game-changer for me.

I’ll give it a week or so; we’ll see what happens. Maybe the tabs will grow on me.

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