The recent Macworld Expo, held in San Francisco, showcased several new Apple software and hardware initiatives. None was more popular than Apple’s brand new browser, Safari 1.0. Users of Mac OS X 10.2 and later can download the browser at www.apple.com.au/safari. Although problems were reported during the initial Beta release stages, the latest (v51 or later) public Beta is solid and popular. We take a look at what this speedy new Internet Explorer alternative has to offer.
Safari uses and enhances the KHTML rendering engine sourced from the Linux KDE Konqueror browser (See here for an example). Apple selected the engine for its speed and standard compliance, as well as any future improvements that may be made by the open source community. At this stage, though, Safari doesn’t feature the excellent tabbed browsing capabilities of Chimera- (www.mozilla.org/projects/chimera) or Mozilla-based browsers.
After you’ve downloaded Safari and double-clicked its disk image file (with the file extension .dmg), you may choose to drag the Safari program file to your Applications folder or, for quick access, drag it to your dock.
You’ll notice that Safari’s interface features a brushed metal design along the lines of iTunes and iMovie. Also evident is that this interface is stripped back, and easy to use.
From the top-left of the program you’ll see the common browser buttons (back, forward and refresh) to navigate on the Internet. Next, the plus icon signifies the bookmark button. For example, if you browse to a page and select this icon (or press
To organise your bookmarks, click the book icon located underneath the left back button or press
Safari’s Internet address (or URL) field, in addition to being the place to type Web addresses, is a progress indicator — the blue bar behind the address provides load status information. To the right of the URL field is a built-in Google search field. Enter a query term, press
Safari boasts some interesting features, of which one of the most useful is the SnapBack button. With one click it allows you to return to the home page of any link — great for use on search engines, news sites and more. It’s located on the right of the address bar, and is represented by an arrow within an orange circle. The first page you open in a new window (
Pulling down the Safari menu and selecting Block Pop-Up Windows will do just that — another useful feature.
Safari has a download manager that can automatically decompress and mount disk images after download. First, check where you are saving your downloads, pull down the Safari menu, select Preferences and click General. You can also make Safari your default browser and set your start page.
When you resize a Safari window and quit the program, it will remember the size and location of that window. The Safari Status Bar is disabled by default; to enable it, pull down the View menu and select Status Bar. The Status Bar allows you to see the target of a link over which you’re hovering your mouse.
Another neat trick is that if you type in an FTP location (e.g., ftp://ftpsite.com.au), the browser will automatically engage OS X’s “Connect to Serve” dialogue.
Finally, if you wish to enable some of the hidden features in the Safari Beta, check out Safari Enhancer at http://gordon.sourcecod.com/sites/safari_enhancer.php. One of its nifty tools lets you import bookmarks from Netscape, Chimera, Mozilla and OmniWeb browsers.