Safari Improved

by James R. Stoup Sep 23, 2005

Some of us have been swept up in the Firefox craze and cast Safari aside, never to give it a second glance. And some of us have become fans of Opera, especially since it is now completely free. No more banner ads, hoo-ray! And yet, there are still some like myself who still can find a place in their heart (and on their dock) for Safari. It isn’t the fastest browser (close, but not quite) nor is it the most configurable, but I still like it. Though I freely admit it could be better. And so I started thinking about a list of changes I would like to see in Safari 3.0. And one thing led to another and soon I was scrambling to get it all down before I forgot everything. So, here is my list of desired features for Safari 3.0. Who knows, maybe some of these will make it into OS X 10.5!

First off has to be tabs. Quite simply I want to be able to rearrange them. It seems like such a simple request and yet it hasn’t happened so far. I want to be able to drag them into different orders or drag the tabs off of the window and form a new window from it. I want to have the option of making the tabs change width to fit the page title. In short, I want the tabs to be more dynamic and easier to manipulate.

Advanced Features
The ‘advanced features’ section in the preferences for Safari sucks, quite simply. You are given a whopping 4 options! 4 whole options, isn’t that just grand? Go over to Opera and you will find 14 different sections, each with their own set of advanced options. Now, do most people need 87 different choices in the advanced section? No, probably not. But it is a hell of a lot better than 4.

Bookmark Management
Nothing terribly specific here only the nagging feeling that this could be done better. I like how Safari handles bookmarks, sort of. It’s just sometimes it does quirky things that I can’t figure out. Like the fact that I can’t sort my bookmarks alphabetically. Oh well, maybe Apple will revamp this section making it a little easier on people like me.

Better cookie management, it’s that simple. In Safari you have 3 options for cookies and let me say I don’t think that is nearly enough.

Now, this isn’t a requirement of sorts so much as it is a request. I would like Apple to make it a little easier to customize Safari. Maybe they could include half a dozen different skins so we can choose our favorites. Not a big thing but ever other browser seems to have hundreds of these so I don’t think it’s too much to ask for just a few.

Making it work now
A good site to go to for those of us wanting some of these features now is Pimp My Safari. Head over there and you will find three invaluable utilities, Saft, Safari Stand and Pith Helmet. Check them out because they are wonderful add ons that greatly enhance your web surfing experience. Since Safari 3.0 isn’t here yet this is as close as you can get to the ideal web browser.


  • “It isn’t the fastest browser (close, but not quite)”

    If not Safari - which browser is the fastest? Camino?

    haemi had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 1
  • ^^^ I want to know the same thing. It was my understanding that Safari is indeed the fastest browser on the Mac platform. At least this was true up unitil 10.3.9 + latest Saari compatible.

    donovan had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 19
  • Yes resizable tabs ! But you know, auto-shrinkable as well would be fine. The tab will expand when moving the mouse over, as it does on the bottom of a finder window after using the search tool, to discover the path of a selected result.

    PowerMike had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 2
  • hamemi & donovan,

    I believe according to the latest test that Opera, actually, is the fastest browser.  But I will try and find the site that had those results for you.

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 122
  • Safari —>View —>Customize Address Bar…—>Drag Action button into toolbar—>Click it —>Arrange Tabs.

    macfanboy had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 4
  • Drag WHAT Action button?  There’s none in my Customize Address Bar options in Safari 2.0.1.

    Dave Marsh had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 44
  • IMHO, it’s kinda dorky to ask simply for more options without specifying which ones you find useful.  Opera has 14 options in “Advanced” to Safari’s 4 ... so what?  That’s not necissarily the measure of better, it’s the measure of more complex.  Part of the Apple advantage is that their products are easier to use.  If you want something specific, GREAT!  But, you need to put more thought into it than just comparing the number of features.  That’s the kind of thing Microsoft does and—rightly—gets slammed on by the Mac community!

    Andrew Hedges had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 1
  • That’s the kind of thing Microsoft does and—rightly—gets slammed on by the Mac community!

    Depends.  Here’s how it actually works in the “Mac community”:

    When an Apple product has more features than the competition, brag about how many more features the Apple product has, even if you don’t know what they are; as in “Tiger has over 200 new features.”

    And when an Apple product has fewer features, brag about how much simpler and easier to use the Apple product is.  Bonus points for invoking the term “feature creep.”

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • James, that’d be great. Post up yo! :p

    donovan had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 19
  • Hey Dave - I’m running Safari on 10.4.2, i can’t check which version because i’m at work right now on a PC.  But you can see a screenshot of the action button on my crappy little blog at  Hope this helps.

    macfanboy had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 4
  • Found a thorough browser comparison chart. Seems Opera 8 is a touch faster over all.

    Safari 1.2 is faster than 2.0 in some areas, but 2.0 takes the cake on CSS.

    donovan had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 19
  • Hay Macfanboy - that is a solid-proof picture on your web site and sure enough that is one cool little button. But I swear it DOES NOT EXIST on the palatte of available choices when pulling down the View Menu and going to Customize Address Bar in Safari 2.0.1. I’ve looked about it 7 times now, and it’s simply not there. I also went to Safari’s Help and typed in “Action Button” and all i got was a list of keyboard shortcuts, none of which had anything to do with Action Buttons or shifting Tabs in Safari. If you happen to figure out how to point us to the Action Button in this version of Safari please do post again, thanks!

    MacGuyInGlendale had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 1
  • I confirm: No action button found in my copy of Safari 2.0.1 either! At least can’t find it in the “Customize Address Bar” window.
    Before 2.0.1? I don’t know, never checked…

    But I want that button! Where is it?

    evolution had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 3
  • Action Button follow up:
    It seems like Action button is provided by a Safari extension caqlled SafariStand:

    I am not sure I will try that, since it is not part of standard Safari.
    I am already getting enough issues with Safari (mostly horrible slow-downs due to memory leaks after some time of use) and I don’t want to wonder all the time whether if it is the fault of any non-Apple added features.

    evolution had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 3
  • My curiosity got the better side of me, I installed SafariStand

    It looks great (so far, and as long as it doesn’t bog down Safari)!
    Yes, there is now an “Action” button in the “Customize Address Bar” window.
    It also adds a “Stand” menu in the menu bar. The feature “Toggle Sidebar” is great. It looks a bit like Omniweb, with a thumbnail of each page (i.e. each tab), and you can re-order tab right there via Drag&Drop;!
    But now, the menu bar in my 12” iBook is full from left to right!

    evolution had this to say on Sep 23, 2005 Posts: 3
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