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Safari logoWell, my two week descent into unusability and lack of functionality that is Safari, is finally over.

About two weeks ago I undertook to stick to Safari The two week Safari challenge The two week Safari challenge Read More all the time, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, while at home. Thank goodness I had an oasis of sanity every weekday when I went in to work. As slow as my office computer is (P4 with 384M of ram) it was a relief to be able to drag my mouse backwards to return to the previous page.

As you can probably tell, I was unimpressed with Safari alone. However, when I added the free Safari Stand plugin I was able to… tolerate it.

Sure, Safari Stand added some functionality, but a lot of it was functionality I couldn’t really find a use for. The two extra bits of goodness in Safari Stand that truly stood out and made my day better were:

  • The checkbox that let me “Open Target Link In New Tab.”
  • The Quick Search, which acts similarly to Firefox Quick Search.

Safari Stand Quick Search

As for the rest of it? Not all that impressive.

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Take the sidebar, for instance. What a total waste of space. The single-function sidebar, along the left side of the browser window, allows you to see your tabs vertically.

Hello? I don’t need to see my tabs vertically, I have them running along the top of my window. At the very least, throw a bookmarks or history sidebar in there. Make it something useful.

There are two promising items in the Safari Stand package called the “Stand Bar” and the “Bookmark Shelf.” Problem is, they just float there getting hidden behind any new window you open or call to the front. What’s the point? Now, if there were a way to dock the Stand Bar and Bookmark Shelf to the sidebar, then we’d be in business. While it wouldn’t be revolutionary in terms of browser technology, it would make Safari a little less unpalatable.

Stand Search? Why do the Safari Stand people think we need MORE open windows on our desktops? Again, the Stand Search opens a new little pop-up window. Sure, it’s a cute little live search of your bookmarks and history, but dock the darn thing to the sidebar or the top of the browser. I don’t need a dozen little floaty windows all over the place!

Safari Stand Stand Search

I was also hoping for mouse gestures.

Not there.

There are dozens of other little additions in Safari Stand and I won’t go through them all, but here are a few:

  • A checkbox in the settings allows you to open Safari’s own search, without hitting cmd-f, just start typing your search terms.
  • Move through tabs using the “,” and “.” keys.
  • Site alteration. This settings page allows you to essentially set your own preferences and add a Stylesheet for any web page. It is set per page, so you can have google.com behave differently from makeuseof.com. Several of the items don’t work at this time. I guess they’re still being written.
  • Colorize HTML source makes it easier to find what you’re looking for, if you’re brave enough to View Source.

Safari Stand Colorize HTML

I have just one last thing to say about Safari Stand: installation sucks. It’s not that difficult, but it’s not as easy as it could be. You’re required to first download and install something called SIMBL. Then you download Safari Stand and manually move a file inside the zipped archive into SIMBL’s plugins folder. Oh, and there’s no Windows version now, and the programmers over at hetima.com say they have no plans to make one in the future.

Will I keep using Safari? No. Not until it includes some of the basic functionality built in to the always improving Firefox or until the Safari plug-in designer community starts putting out some good, FREE plugins. When anything worth installing costs $6, $10 and $15 then what’s the point? Firefox will probably have the same thing either built-in or available as a free add-on. And, once you diehard Safari fans get a look at Firefox 3 and use it a bit, you will be very tempted to switch.

I have one piece of advice for Apple’s Safari team: keep up with the times. We’re way past 2003.

Here’s my rating for:

  • Safari alone: 1.5 stars out of 5, solely for its speed. I found no other redeeming value in it.
  • Safari with Safari Stand: 2.5 stars out of 5. As the product improves, so will the rating.
  • For comparison purposes, I would rate Firefox 3 beta 5: 4.5 stars out of 5.

  1. John F.
    January 15, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Boy... I must be stupid. Or patient. Or a masochist. Or all three. I like Safari. I'm using it right now. And yes, I'm on it all the time. I'd consider myself a "power user" with full knowledge of the keystroke shortcuts, hidden functions, etc. I jump back and forth between this and Firefox. Though, my main reason for using Firefox is because StumbleUpon isn't avail. for Safari.

    Of course, everyone will have their preferences. And I'm sure if I spent more time exploring Firefox plugins, I'd find it a lot more impressive (I think it's good, but still prefer Safari). But for me... the tabbed browsing in Safari works very well and most of the time, pages load quickly. Meanwhile, tabbed browsing doesn't always work right in Firefox, at least on my machine.

    Also, though I know it's a function of the new Macs and not Safari, there are now trackpad gestures that let you scroll back and forth between tabbed webpages no problem.

    Sorry to to have agreed. Just a diverging opinion.

  2. L.L. Moorloch
    May 3, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Inferno, you're only hurting yourself by not even trying Maxthon. I gave Firefox a whirl after all that I had heard about it, and in no time at all I was running back to Maxthon as fast as I could. Firefox just can't match Maxthon for features, ease of use, stability, and security. Like Firefox there's an extension for nearly anything you can imagine, but the nice part is that so many features come standard on Maxthon, you don't need to spend a lot of time looking thorugh plug-in lists to find the right extensions. Oh, and it's very kind on resources, too. Give it a try.

  3. Inferno
    May 2, 2008 at 1:42 am

    I've been a firefox user for years and simply love that theres extensions for everything you can imagine. For Speed's sake I've started using swiftweasel (works with all FF extensions). I haven't tried many other browsers (gave Opera a go, and used to use IE) I thought about trying maxthon, but I simply can't find many things that beat firefox. Only issues I have with it are the slow load up (theres a preloader extension out there but doesn't work amazingly well), and resource hogging.

  4. Tom
    May 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Safari is faster on my imac. (and does the job)

  5. ADI
    May 1, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I couldn't use Safari more than 1 week Its crap

    • Travis Quinnelly
      May 1, 2008 at 10:37 am

      I tried a few days...and I couldn't agree more.

  6. Nxqd3051990
    April 30, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Totally agree. Safari is so simple that it doesn't have features we need :). Firefox btw

  7. newmi
    April 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Now why don't you give maxthon a go for a week. It had gestures before firefox even existed.

    Anyway, this article just proves that I made the right decision to never rely on one browser. I normally use 4 different browsers for my every day browsing/work with the occasional 5th and 6th.

    • Fernando
      April 30, 2008 at 10:46 pm

      that's stupid and not efficient, I don't need to have 4 or 5 browsers installed to do what I want, I use Opera as my main browser and IE with some sites that don't work properly with Opera, I try Firefox from time to time, but I really don't like how it looks (and haven't found a theme that looks nice and is efficient) I'm speaking obviously about FF3b5, which after 3 or 4 plug ins (to get the funcionality of Opera) looks like crap, out of the box and visually Opera is a far superior browser

  8. Aseem Kishore
    April 30, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Good review...I agree with you, I think Firefox Beta 5 is way better. Also, other browsers like Flock and Hydra are better! I especially like Flock with all it's social networking features.

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