Forwarding Address: OS X

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Browsers through the revolving door

I know I'm not alone in having Safari (1.3) repeatedly beachball for 3-5 seconds for no apparent reason -- despite clearing cache and history (too many saved passwords to go all the way to Reset Safari). One day, already restless and feeling like I might not be having the Most Optimal Browsing Experience Possible, I hit my limit and went looking for a replacement.

I tried Firefox for a while, but the small ways in which it doesn't feel like a native OS X app wore on me, despite the undeniable utility of extensions like the Web Developer toolbar.

Then I checked out Shiira, a cool, pure Cocoa, WebKit-based browser from Japan. Shiira was great, with a lot of neat little features, but many features seemed not quite ready for prime-time and -- the killer -- it didn't work with Google Maps (maybe the Tiger-only Shiira 1.0 does, but I'm still mostly on Panther yet).

Then I remembered Camino, which was my main browser before Safari came out. Gecko rendering with a nice Aqua interface (no brushed metal, either). The latest nightlies are solid and featureful. Safari bookmarks imported cleanly, and my giant list of bookmarks opens instantly, vs. Safari's 6-second brain freeze (related to favicons, I think, but that's no excuse).

But lately I'm noticing that the Gecko text rendering just isn't quite as sweet as WebKit, and thinking maybe I should give Safari another chance...

Jane, get me off this crazy thing!


  • Omniweb?

    By Zac, at 8:21 PM  

  • Omniweb is in my revolving door. I am trying Camino again, in the newest build. Camino will not render Boing Boing (did I select a do not load GIFs preference somewhere?) Firefox is the other major brand. I bounce between Omni (for its tab shuffling methods) and Firefox (for its rarely snagging rendering, plug in compliance, loaded titlebar search engine, and Linky), and Camino, for a closer to cocoa feel.

    I consistantly load over thirty links at a time, usually from a news reader or similar site. I use dial up and allow the other pages to load in the background. If I had broadband, multiple tabs might not be as important to me.

    On my Powerbook using Tiger, I use Safari exclusively. I like the way it handles RSS. I have not added Saft to it yet, although I might, and with Saft it may again become my browser of choice. In Panther, I haven't touched Safari in months though.

    Firefox seems to win the "it just works" award, mostly due to its interface with the web rather than its interface with the user.
    Omniweb does not interface with the web nearly as well as it interfaces with the user, which is a shame. Safari and Camino can always claim the interface with the OS, award, for what that is worth.

    By Anonymous, at 8:56 PM  

  • There are some known fixes for slow behavior in Safari. Turn off the auto-fill for all Other Forms, it has to sift through too much data on each page load. There was another similarly simple fix but I can't recall it at the moment.
    It is also a good idea to shorten the names of bookmarks, this seems to have a huge impact on the initial build and subsequent display of popup menus, and even slows page loads for some reason I've never figured out.

    By Anonymous, at 9:05 PM  

  • Turning off saving of favicons in Safari is a good idea. There are two ways to do this. Either:

    Go into your library (~/Library not /Library, of course.)

    Library > Safari > Icons

    and make the Icon directory read only. Or simply run this command in Terminal:

    rm -fr ~/Library/Safari/Icons;ln -s /dev/null ~/Library/Safari/Icons

    To reverse that:

    rm ~/Library/Safari/Icons;mkdir ~/Library/Safari/Icons

    By Anonymous, at 3:50 AM  

  • You must have got Camino 0.84.

    0.9 is out in alpha and it _is_ metallic. It has that new Mail/System Preferences fat toolbar.

    It's quite nice though:

    0.9a1 over on the left there.

    By Anonymous, at 3:54 AM  

  • I have moved on to Safari 2.0 now (in Tiger) but I remember all my spinning beachball problems going away by turning off the forms auto-fill as mentioned above.

    By Anonymous, at 5:48 AM  

  • I think we're using that term differently. I'm using build 2005062808 (v0.9a1+), and there's no brushed metal. Brushed metal is like Safari and iTunes, not Mail or System Preferences (Tiger-style or otherwise).

    By pbx, at 5:54 AM  

  • Sorry, I was replying to the previous anonymous post, not the anonymous post immediately above the post I just posted.

    Dammit, people, use names!

    By pbx, at 5:55 AM  

  • Cleaning out your Safari cookies can make a huge difference as well.

    By Scott Laird, at 7:10 AM  

  • I tried turning off autofill for "Other Forms" and, dare I say, that seems to have fixed it. So thanks. I'm sure I'll find some other reason to keep switching.

    By pbx, at 7:32 AM  

  • Safari 2.0 is my daily use browser. Following the instructions at, I've built a more current version of WebKit, which is noticeably faster, has bunches of bug fixes and even passes the Acid2 test. Scripts are provided so that you run Safari with the new WebKit. Launching Safari in the usual ways uses the version of WebKit that comes with the system.

    Just have the Developer Tools installed.

    -- Al

    By Al Willis, at 11:30 AM  

  • why to talk about internet when we can talk about the rest?

    By hetsah, at 4:50 PM  

  • A followup -- more than two weeks later, I'm still using Camino (nightly build). It's nice.

    By pbx, at 10:20 AM  

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