Breathe new life into Apple OS X Safari

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.

Discuss - 31 Comments

  1. JR says:

    I had been using Safari since it’s inception. Big fan of the browser but lately – it started to slow down on me and certain sites would stop to a crawl. I thought it might just be me but noticed on several boards that people were having the same probs.

    So I swtiched to Firefox… and now, that is my browser of choice. Firefox’s handling of multiple tabs leaves Safari for dead. I can open up 20-30 of my fave blogs at once with Firefox with ease. If I do the same with Safari, opening the very same blog pages… fergetaboutit! System becomes unusable. (Powerbook 1.67 2gb RAM).

    I do miss Safari, but for right now until Apple can fix its memory problems, I’m sticking with Firefox.

  2. Brian Warren says:

    I agree, Safari is a lot more handy than it used to be. With the advent of the inspector window and a few plugins it’s a really handy browser for both work and play.

    I’ve been really enjoying the Safari Tidy plugin too, very clever bit of work.

  3. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”5037″]I can open up 20-30 of my fave blogs at once with Firefox with ease. If I do the same with Safari, opening the very same blog pages… fergetaboutit! System becomes unusable. (Powerbook 1.67 2gb RAM)..[/quote]

    I have yet to experience any noticeable memory consumption while using Safari. Nothing out of the ordinary in comparison to Firefox 2 Beta. Although, I must admit that I have heard a few words concerning possible memory leaks involving Safari. Seeing as though Apple recently kicked a major update out the door, I’m thinking that the issue may have been resolved?

    15 tabs with the same URLs open in FFx (70.3MB) & Safari (78MB).

  4. Eli says:

    Great tip for beginner Safari users like myself. I’m also having good luck with Safari Extender 1.5.4 for added tab functionality.

  5. weisheng says:

    I find the beachball of death seems to be appearing more and more often with Safari, but somehow it’s still my preferred browser. For speed, I’d go with Camino rather than Firefox, it’s ultra fast.

    You can’t use Safari without Sogudi! I’ve stopped using the search bar completely after installing this great little piece of freeware.

  6. […] Add functionality to OS X Safari. Firefox hasn’t won the the browser war yet and the following examples offer functionality to rival that found in Firefox’s range of available extensions.read more | digg story […]

  7. I realize this is a bit of a plug, but I prefer my own SafariSource extension over Saft for syntax colorizing. Not only do I find the default colorizing easier to read, it’s also fully customizable.

  8. Mike says:

    I’ve found that SafariSIA is a great search alternative, and the new Cooliris page previewer is a useful addition.

  9. Scott says:

    I agree Safari is the shizzle when it comes to load times and page rendering, but only if it had the Web Developer extension. If it had that and that alone I go back to Safari, till then nothing compares to Firefox if you’re a web developer.

    Cheers,

    SD

  10. Tim says:

    Wow, no mention of PithHelmet, simply one of the best and most usefull plugins for Safari.

  11. Daveecee says:

    AcidSearch > Inquisitor

  12. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”5059″]Wow, no mention of PithHelmet, simply one of the best and most usefull plugins for Safari.[/quote]

    Does PithHelmet still use that helmet icon in the menu bar? That was the only thing that turned me off since I last used it.

    [quote comment=”5060″]AcidSearch > Inquisitor[/quote]

    AcidSearch loads a great number of added features outside of what I feel casual browser would need. I tried AcidSearch and the huge list of options that pops out during searches seemed like a little too much. That’s just my own feelings though.

  13. Clemens says:

    PithHelemet uses this Icon, but you can turn it off, so it does not show in the MenuBar. In my opinion it is so important to have PithHelmet installed, that I really would not care about that Icon.

  14. djjjimmy says:

    i agree with you that when viewed from the angle of speed and intergration with osx, safari is better. check some extra info that you might have missed. i think if you search enough, there are no mainstream things (or actions) you can’t do with it.

  15. John Beeler says:

    Inquisitor is great. But its support is horrible. I have an unnecessarily long and drawn out email conversation where the developer is short, unprofessional, rude, and worst of all, unhelpful – even after paying for the product.

    It’s not as shiny, but you’re better off with AcidSearch.

  16. Abe says:

    PimpMySafari is THE place to go to get any and all add-ons for Safari!

  17. Ian O says:

    [quote comment=”5061″]
    AcidSearch loads a great number of added features outside of what I feel casual browser would need. I tried AcidSearch and the huge list of options that pops out during searches seemed like a little too much. That’s just my own feelings though.[/quote]

    The great aspect of AcidSearch is that it can be edited to include anything you like. I moved MacUpate to the front line and added TradeMe/Mac (our local auction site). It’s the reason why I can’t go over to Firefox, even if it does have Stumble.

  18. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”5076″]Inquisitor is great. But its support is horrible. I have an unnecessarily long and drawn out email conversation where the developer is short, unprofessional, rude, and worst of all, unhelpful – even after paying for the product.[/quote]

    The developer does great stuff – I own all the software by the dev. I imagine from time to time the dev may feel a little burdened.

  19. […] Following in the footsteps of the previous Breathe new life into OS X Safari post which spurred debates concerning OS X browsers, free vs. paid plugins (extensions), and rendering capabilities, I felt a follow-up post concerning a second regularly used application was in order. An application also of Apple’s own creation distributed with every OS X powered computer to date – iChat. […]