ABF CI: Safari 3 has Trouble Changing the Protocol Handlers of Feeds

Friday, 2007-06-15; 23:59:00

Squeaking in an Apple Bug Friday in under the wire here...

I recently decided to move my RSS feeds from Vienna back to Safari. There were a variety of reasons I decided to do so. First, I stopped using OmniWeb again, which was my main motivation for finding and using Vienna. (OmniWeb was still a memory hog and it was a bit crashy.) Since Safari has RSS support built-in, and I was using Safari anyway, I might as well use Safari for RSS feeds, too.

Second, both Safari and Vienna are memory hogs after a while. Safari can use up to 300 MB of memory after visiting a bunch of websites, and if I leave Vienna open for a while, it similarly uses up to 200 MB of memory or so. Using Safari for both browsing the web and reading RSS feeds will keep my memory usage down a lot.

Third, my preferred view in Vienna still has small issues, like not being able to flag or mark articles as unread in unified view (or even seeing if they are unread), and sometimes the HTML from one article spills over to the next article in unified view, making articles nested in other articles sometimes. I don't use smart folders in Vienna, and I only use filters because of the aforementioned problem with not being able to see which articles are unread in unified view.

Oh, and probably most importantly, Safari can synchronize my feeds across multiple computers, and it can also synch the read status of each article.

So when Safari 3 came out, I decided to go back to using it as my RSS reader. This isn't really a knock against Vienna; it's a wonderful feed reader, but I have no reason for a separate feed reader anymore. Unfortunately, there were problems with getting my feeds back into Safari, which I needed to do because I had added/changed some feeds while using Vienna for the past few months.

I initially tried dragging-and-dropping from Vienna to Safari which, surprisingly, worked! But not optimally. The feed URLs came over fine, but the names of the feeds themselves were marked with the filename of the feed files, not the names of the feeds. Safari doesn't change the names, either, when viewing the feeds for the first time. (I'm not sure if the bookmark name problem with drag-and-dropping was on Vienna's side or Safari's side, but it would be nice if this were improved somehow.)

As I didn't want to go through and change all the names one by one, it seems I had to go through a roundabout way to get the bookmarks and their names into Safari. You have to install the Sage extension in Firefox, export your bookmarks as an OPML file, then import them into Firefox using the Sage extension, and then use Safari to import your Firefox bookmarks. And then you have to open all of your feeds in tabs for the first time, because Safari changes the protocol handlers of feeds from "http" to "feed", something which Vienna does not do.

And then I experienced a bug with Safari. When I dragged-and-dropped bookmarks from Vienna to Safari, Safari happily changed all the protocol handlers in all 117 feeds in 117 tabs from "http" to "feed". But when I did the roundabout import to get the correct names, Safari 3 refused to change the protocol handlers. It actually stopped being able to visit any website after opening all the feeds in tabs. Quitting and restarting Safari rectified this, but it still didn't solve the problem of changing the feed handlers so Safari would recognize them as valid feeds.

The workaround: copy bookmarks to another Mac with Safari 3 installed, open RSS feeds in tabs to change the protocol handlers, then copy the bookmarks back to the initial Mac. For some reason the bug manifests itself on my iMac G5 but not on my Core Duo MacBook. I even tried resetting Safari and deleting the preferences, to no avail. Filed: 5274073.

P.S. The "always show tab bar" preference has been moved from Safari's preferences to the View menu in Safari 3. If you always want to see the tab bar, simply select "Show Tab Bar" from the View menu, and any subsequent windows will always show the tab bar even if there's only one tab.

By the way, does anyone know if that bug with window size and the autohiding tab bar is fixed in Safari? When the first version of Safari with tab support came out, I initially didn't show the tab bar. But as I used tabs, I would close the windows with multiple tabs still open, and Safari would record the larger window size. Then I would open a new window and it would open with the new window size, and then when I opened a new tab, it would increase the size of the window again. In this manner, Safari's window size would gradually grow until you had to manually resize it down.

Does that problem still exist?

[UPDATE: Guh. Fine. I checked it myself. :P It seems like it's fixed.]

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