Breathe new life into Apple OS X Safari

  • July 16th, 2006

Safari iconDespite having admitted to relying on Mozilla’s Firefox browser as my preferred browser, I must admit that the beauty and seamless functionality of Apple’s Safari browser is not to be overlooked. Firefox fanatics will continue to wave their arms claiming that their Gecko powered browser has no real competitors due to the extensibility, growing user base, near flawless page rendering, and open source nature of their favorite web browser. All valid reasons to adopt Firefox as there is no question or challenge to the strength and performance of the little roaring browser. However, there is no question that when it comes to browser load time and page rendering, Safari trumps Firefox time and again.

There’s no denying, the real reason behind the growing Firefox community are the great options offered through browser extensions. Without extensions, Firefox would be nothing more than a Gecko driven browser with a pretty icon. I’ve taken the time to sift through the readily available options designed to enhance Safari’s internet browsing experience in hopes of recreating similar Firefox extended functionality.

The little search bar that can

Both Firefox and Safari share a common feature situated in the top right corner of the browser window. An integrated search bar provides quick access to popular search engines. While the latest Firefox 2 Beta 1 release features suggested search functionality, Safari users can appreciate the added functionality of both live search and recommended search terms thanks to David Watanabe’s Inquisitor (Price: One Caramel Machiatto w/extra caramel Inquisitor version 3 is free).

Inquisitor screenshot

Inquisitor adds the additional convenience of live search – using your favorite Google or Yahoo engine – and the convenience of weighted keyword suggestions. Inquisitor supports Cocoa based browser which, in addition to Safari, include Camino.

Inquisitor custom search screenshot

Heavy Technorati, Amazon, and Flickr users will enjoy the included keyboard shortcuts which query each respective service rather than Google or Yahoo for the specified keywords. Search kings will enjoy the added convenience of creating custom search shortcuts. Example: Custom search string for 5ThirtyOne (http://5thirtyone.com/?s=%@).

Firefox converts may enjoy this short tutorial on adding a custom keyboard shortcut to Safari which adds the familiar CMD+K shortcut to focus on the browsers search bar.

Saft – Enhancing standard Safari features

Saft screenshot

Saft’s (Price: Four Big Mac Value Meals) original roots originated with a simple feature enhancement of full screen / kiosk mode. Since its inception, Hao Li has developed this addon into a bona fide solution managing the Safari browsing experience. Reference the feature list for a better understanding of the added Safari functionality. My personal favorites? Ad blocking, keyboard shortcuts (for routinely visited pages), and session saver.

OmniWeb-like sidebar tab preview

safaristand screenshot

Although SafariStand (Price: free) offers a great deal of additional enhancements – including syntax highlighting mentioned under webdev – the OmniWeb-like sidebar tab previews receive the most attention during my own internet browsing.

Yes, I have WebDev tools as well

Web developers need not worry as Firefox users flaunt their Web Developer extension. Added webdev source code syntax highlighting can be accessed thanks to the free SafariStand download.

webkit screenshotHardcore Safari web developers will enjoy the Web Inspector found in the webkit nightly distributions. The Web Inspector is a future feature of Safari which web developers can download now for comparison with the much respected Web Developer Firefox extension. Hicksdesign has a great rundown on web development using Safari.

Extended Safari Pimping

Adding to Safari’s functionality does not stop here, check out Pimp my Safari for additional options. If there is anything else worth mentioning, drop your Safari secrets or tips in the comments below.