Safari 3, "New" Finder, EA's Games

Wednesday, 2007-06-13; 02:23:00

Mmm... Safari 3. Announced on Monday during Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote, the public beta of the newest version of Safari is available for download. Safari 3 is an excellent upgrade. While the appearance of Safari hasn't changed a bit, there are some real improvements in here. First off is rendering speed.

I immediately noticed an increase in rendering speed of Safari. Granted, I had to restart, so some of this may be the recently-restarted effect, but since installing Safari 3, I haven't noticed a single slowdown in rendering speed. In contrast, Safari 2 would always bog down when having a bunch of websites open; clicking a bunch of links in Vienna to open in Safari would always cause Safari 2 to beachball for minutes (yes, minutes) at a time. Not so in Safari 3. This is a huge improvement. I wonder if part of this has to do with the favicon storage revamp.

Tab reordering, tearing-off, and joining is pretty cool, too. I like the slick animations that transform the tabs into mini-windows and then into full-size windows. It suffers a little bit from the you-must-start-dragging-vertically syndrome, though: if you start dragging horizontally to reorder a tab and then decide you actually want to tear it off, you have to stop dragging it, and then start dragging it again in the vertical direction. You can't even horizontally tear it off either side. The only way to tear a tab off is to start dragging the first tab horizontally to the left (this only applies to the first tab), or drag any tab vertically off the tab bar. Weird, to say the least. (These strange behaviors have applied to dragging bookmarks around the bookmarks bar for a while.)

The new inline find capabilities are way overdue. Firefox has had them for a long time, but Safari 3 improves on it just a tiny bit by 1) using orange to highlight the current search result, a color that stands out easily, and 2) making the current result expand and contract a bit visually to get your attention when it initially gets selected.

Safari 3's Find Feature

But how long did it friggin' take to implement this feature? Years! Why is it that System-7-style finding is always so popular? I mean, System-7-style finding is still used in text editors, too! There should be some sort of framework for implementing inline find in any app. That would be sweet.

Finally, one of my favorite new features: session saving. Yes, if you quit Safari, it'll now remember all the pages you previously had open. It's not automatic, though -- when you reopen Safari, just choose "Reopen All Windows From Last Session" from the History menu. That'll restore everything just as you had it. There's also a "Reopen Last Closed Window", but sadly it does exactly what it says: if you close a tab, you can't get it back. (Hmm, that's a good candidate for a bug report.)

I'm unsure as to how often Safari saves the current pages you have open; if Safari crashes, how far back will it remember? I'm afraid to test this out because I have a lot of pages open right now. :)

Oh, one more thing that, as far as I know, has only been in OmniWeb: resizable text areas. If there's an annoying text area that is too small, you can expand it at will! This works for any text area, including the one that you use to add comments on Technological Supernova (although it acts a little strange since it's apparently aligned right as opposed to aligned left).

(One last thing: I was amused to see that Chris Biagini was annoyed that Safari recommended he use the Google search bar rather than setting Google to his homepage. Why would you use the Google homepage over the search bar?)

While I love Safari 3 on Tiger, apparently Safari 3 on Windows isn't going over so well. Lame ass-Maynor, as always, thinks he's such hot shit for finding some bugs in Safari for Windows. (His whole thing about not reporting bugs to Apple shows he's just an attention whore rather than a real security researcher.) Thor Larholm has found a "protocol handler command injection" vulnerability. And then people are finding that it crashes like crazy, sometimes doesn't launch or is glacially slow, or sometimes just doesn't display certain text at all.

This isn't exactly surprising, given that this is the first time Safari has existed on Windows. Bugs are going to be there, especially since Apple usually produces Mac software (besides iTunes, QuickTime, and AppleWorks). In fact, Safari 3 is a public beta (hint: emphasis on "beta").

The security vulnerabilities, though, are a bit more concerning, and should have been taken care of or extensively tested for even though this is a public beta.

One last thing I wanted to touch on: apparently, Safari 3 on Windows implements Mac OS X-style antialiasing rather than using Windows' own algorithm. But Jeff Atwood doesn't like it. To my eye, I much prefer Mac OS X's antialiasing; his screenshot of IE's text just looks wispy, thin, and light. The screenshot of Safari 3 is much more pleasing. (The comments seem split, though, so it's probably just a matter of what you're used to.)

Steve Jobs pulled out the "brand new Finder" shtick with his keynote speech on Monday, just as he did when he first introduced Panther. But this time I have higher hopes: Apple is touting multicore optimization in the technology section of the Mac OS X Leopard pages. While Apple uses buzzwords like "multicore apps" and "multicore ready", it just means multithreading, which is good. Let's just hope they made the Finder "multicore ready" as well.

Apple is also touting a "brand-new multithreaded autofs filesystem layer":

The brand-new multithreaded autofs filesystem layer keeps track of which paths are actually located on remote AFP, SMB, or NFS fileservers — even across symlinks — and automatically mounts the appropriate server. The Finder and other applications needn’t wait for one mount to complete before requesting another. Now you can specify automount paths for your entire organization using the same standard automounter maps (e.g., NIS) supported by Linux or Solaris.

Shocking! A Finder that doesn't beachball when you're trying to connect to one measly server? Amazing!

Oh, don't get me started on EA's announcement at WWDC. What's-his-face made it sound like they were getting heavily into Mac OS X development, what with the simultaneous releases and everything.

But it's all a smokescreen for the real way that they're accomplishing their goal: they're using TransGaming's Cider, a development tool that basically wraps the unmodified Windows code and translates Windows API calls into Mac OS X API calls.

P.S. It requires an Intel-based Mac.

So basically it's not actually going to be a port of the Windows games, it's going to be a Windows app with a translation wrapper. I have my doubts as to whether these games will perform well, even on Intel Macs. This just seems like paying lip service to the Mac now that it's starting to gain market share.


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