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A Safari adventure

With the exception of a few years when Internet Explorer was actually the more standard-compliant browser, I’ve always surfed the Web with a Netscape-originated browser. I supported Mozilla when it was still struggling to make something even approaching a usable browser. My name was one of thousands to be found in a New York Times ad announcing Firefox’s debut. I have friends that work with Mozilla.

But the Macintosh version of Firefox has grown more unstable and a browser’s speed and reliability are critical in my work. So, a week ago I decided to switch browsers from Firefox to Safari.

After adjusting to the subtle font rendering differences, here are my thoughts.

Definitely missing

* Glims adds many these features I miss and can be trimmed down to maintain the minimalism of Safari’s UI.

† Safari 5 enabled browser add-ons, and one enables shortcuts for tabs.

Beginning to accept

Truly loving

In general, Safari feels delicate, but faster.

Unfortunately, its UI conventions, in particular tab switching and searching via the location bar, seem stuck in past decade. In Safari, Apple agains shows it values visual æsthetics over power functionality. As a result, the default page looks stunning but quickly becomes a distraction. The bookmark/history navigation showcases pages as if they were album covers, but the iTunes metaphor breaks when trying to group items with tags.

In all likelihood, I’ll stick with Safari for now because it is fast and stable.

Firefox, though, will never be far from mind, and with each new release, I’ll give the Web’s truly open-source browser another try.

For those not wanting to retrain their muscle memory, I was reminded that you can remap the keyboard shortcuts pretty easily in the Mac. Has helped a lot, although I still miss the Awesome Bar.