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In the past, I’ve looked at a few Safari plugins: Cooliris, which revolutionizes the way we view images and videos (and even shop online); and I’ve delved into two of the most popular search plugins – Glims and Inquisitor to see which one is better overall.
This time around, I’ll be looking into one of the best Safari plugins out there which has eluded me for a long time. Despite the fact that it was vastly popular, I hesitated to install it because firstly, I don’t like having too many plugins – they could conflict with each other. Secondly, SafariStand’s site is pretty uninviting and doesn’t give the impression that its plugin is actually quite awesome. So, enter my SafariStand review.
SafariStand offers so many enhancements, I don’t know where to begin. To be quite honest, I don’t think that I haven’t tried all of them yet! But there are some features which I think are pretty mind-blowing. Let’s start with those:
How many times have you gone through your browsing history, trying to find something and you can’t remember the title of the article or what the site was called? For me, this happens quite often. I have to literally shoot in the dark and re-open all the websites which I’ve browsed before that sounds vaguely close to what I’m looking for. Most of the time, my search ends in vain.
SafariStand solves this problem with something pretty neat. It’s called History Flow and from the name, you probably expect it to be something like Cover Flow and it is literally Cover Flow for your history. SafariStand captures a thumbnail for every site you’ve been to and stores it together with your browsing history to allow you to graphically view the sites you’ve visited.
History Flow can be found within Safari’s History menu. Clicking on it will bring up SafariStand’s History Flow window like in the screenshot :
Like I said, just awesome.
SafariStand brings another innovative addition to Safari: a sidebar with thumbnails of all opened tabs. This is actually pretty useful because if I have too many opened tabs, Safari would collect the tabs together under a double-right arrow (>>). With Sidebar, I can roughly know which sites I have opened in those tabs. I can re-arrange and close tabs in Sidebar and also adjust the size of the thumbnail.
For the sake of exhibition, I enlarged the size of the sidebar but normally it opens much smaller (and less obtrusive) than this.
I do a lot of research online and most of the time, I tend to have quite a few tabs open. However, I can’t always finish reading them at once. SafariStand lets me store all the opened tabs as a Workspace and it can be re-opened with a single click. You might call it Safari session saver. I can also save multiple Workspaces and they can all be managed in SafariStand’s Bookmark Shelf.
By enabling SafariStand’s automatic searches, there’s no need to press Cmd+F before inputting a search query. It will immediately recognize keystrokes and use them to find whatever it is I’m looking for on that page, provided that nothing (address bar, search field) is focused.
Besides the few really cool features I’ve just mentioned, SafariStand still has an arsenal of capabilities left to explore:
- Automatically close the Download window after a certain period of time
- Switch tabs with the mouse wheel
- Quick search in address bar
- Stand Bar: separate bar for Bookmarks & History
- and many more
SafariStand is a SIMBL plugin and has to be added into /Users/(your username)/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/. There are also separate versions for Leopard and Tiger so be careful about which you download.
SafariStand was tested with Safari 3.2.1 running on Mac OS X 10.5.5. Because I can’t test this on Tiger and the fact that Cover Flow view was only implemented in Leopard’s Finder, I’m assuming that History Flow might not be available on the Tiger version of SafariStand.
Which SafariStand feature do you like best? Are there any other Safari plugins you’d like to recommend to our MakeUseOf users? Share your wisdom in the comments!