The Safari 4 Beta has been out for about a month or so, but I’ve been too lazy to write about it until now. I’ve been using it for the past week or so, and it has won its way to being my main browser. With the addition of Glims (a plugin for Safari to give it some Firefox-esque features), Safari’s become better than Firefox.
The new tab placement is very much like Chrome’s, with the tabs at the top of the window. After using Firefox for so many years, it feels a bit awkward to have the tabs at the very top, but after using it for a day, I got accustomed to it. My only gripe with the tabs is that I can’t drag the tabs around unless I use the little drag area on the right of each tab.
Now Glims adds some nifty features of its own, such as the ability to reopen a recently closed tab with cmd + z. Having closed many tabs by accident, I cannot even begin to stress how useful this features is. Another useful feature is the ability to switch between tabs using only “,” and “.” By far the most useful modification is the expansion of the search bar. I can now choose from dozens of search engines as well as Wikipedia. When I start typing, a whole auto-suggest overlay pops up, which looks cool as well as being quite useful.
As with all good things, Safari has some annoyances, the main one being its annoying form-handling. Whenever a form element is focused, an ugly glow appears around the element. Unless explicitly defined in the CSS, Safari will always display the glow. It would be nice if Apple gave us the option of turning off the annoying glows.
Safari 4 also has the “Top Pages” view enabled on new tabs and windows by default. It shows the top 9 sites in a rather gimmicky, faux-3D kind of way. Cover flow is also enabled in the history, which is actually quite useful, as it allows me to see previously visited sites rather than just looking at URLs.
By typing any letter (when not in a form, of course), Safari activates the page search and dims the website, highlighting the found terms. Esc closes the search. Very useful and efficient, as I don’t need to use the mouse.
So far I’m really pleased with how Safari 4 is turning out. I’m hoping the final version will be even better.