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  • Safari Beta 4 Released OS X + Windows. Awesome so far ...


    Safari Beta 4 is now available for download for both Windows and Mac from the Apple site. According to Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing "Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward," going on to say "Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications."

    Features
    • Top Sites. This is the first thing you see when you open Safari. All your recent sites are arranged nicely in a grid. You can choose between Small Medium and Large which changes how many sites are shown. When you first start Safari this page opens up and the most recent sites you have visited appear as default. Clicking edit on the bottom left allows you to arrange and pin sites that you care about so they always show up. This is especially useful when creating a new tab since the Tops Sites screen pops up. Pin you most commonly used sites for quick access.

    • Cover Flow. Apple loves their Cover Flow. In this new Safari 4 beta it is used to view through your Web History and Bookmarks. It does look awesome as along as you wait for it to catch up loading previews (I have countless bookmarks and such) otherwise it will just show a nice little black screen for preview. It looks awesome but in reality doesn't add any real functionality -- of course looking cool is half the battle.

    • Tabs on Top. The Tabs have been moved to the top bar. This is actually a really awesome idea. The Menu bar area of Safari has a smaller vertical footprint than before because of this leaving just as much functionality while giving you more vertical webpage viewing are. One gripe. The close the tab is on the left of the tab instead of the right -- that's going to take some time to get used to. You also have to grab the right corner (where close tab used to be) to drag and rearrange tab order when before you could click anywhere in the tab but that makes sense since there is no top menu bar now -- you have to be able to grab somewhere to drag the entire window.

    • Full Page Zoom. Zooming in full page not only zooms text, it zooms images as well. There is also a text only zoom available if you prefer. Quality while zooming in doesn't degrade much as well!

    • Smart Address and Search Fields. The Address Field now provides you with options to select from your browsing history and bookmarks to select as you type in words to the Address Field. The Search Field also has been enhanced to show suggestions and recent searches. At the bottom to the enhanced search field is also the option to highlight the word you are searching for every time it is used in the current page you are viewing.

    • Those are the major new features. Apple says they have a total of 150 features and you can find here.
    • Missing feature. Automatic loading of all the tabs you already had open in your previous browsing session. Is that so hard to do Apple? FireFox does it.


    Performance

    The new features may be awesomely functional (for the most part) and look neat but they mean nothing if the browser is slow. Safari 4 Beta doesn't have an issue with speed. Apple boasts that Safari 4's new Nitro JavaScript engine executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Microsoft's IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. Under normal use it feels a bit faster than the previous Safari (which was faster than its competition already) while loading normal web pages and there is a noticeable speed increase when loading pages with heavy duty javascript.

    For the last few hours I have been using Safari 4 beta it has been a pleasure. I have to admit I am won over by the new features -- especially the tabs at the top. The eye-candy is something that I can't really complain about as well. On top of it all this new version of Safari is performing as well if not better than the previous version which was already a very quick browser. What puts this Safari over the edge is the bleeding edge support for web standards including both HTML 5 and CSS 3 which are the future of the internet and support some really cools things like highly polished gradients and mirror finishes (CSS 3) along with the ability to do more advanced offline webpages (HTML 5. If you haven't heard about Google's preview of their offline Gmail google it).

    This is a pretty excellent browser especially for a beta. The Mac OS X version if of course better than the Windows version but I have to admit, with this release the Windows version is catching up quite a bit (it is better than IE7 any day). You can grab Safari 4 beta from Apple.

    In case I wasn't clear enough above here is the one sentence summary:
    Safari 4 beta is awesome on Mac and Windows.

    Update

    The folks at cnet did some benchmarking:


    Update 2

    Some nice tricks to enable/disable hidden preferences have been discovered. Mac users just enter the following commands in Terminal and then relaunch Safari/Open new window. Windows users you can do the same thing by editing the Preferences.plist file located in Documents and Settings\Your Username\Application Data\Apple Computer\Safari with your favorite XML editor.

    Move the tab bar to its old location
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4TabBarIsOnTop -bool NO
    Put back blue loading bar (use both commands) and move loading spinner back to the tab
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeToolbarRedesign -bool NO

    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4LoadProgressStyle -bool NO
    Turn off the new address autocomplete menu
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeFancyURLCompletionList -bool NO
    Turn off the new search bar menu
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeGoogleSuggest -bool NO
    Remove CoverFlow
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeFlowViewInBookmarksView -bool NO
    Disable dimming when you click on a Top Site
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4TopSitesZoomToPageAnimationDimsSnapsho t -bool NO
    Disable Top Sites
    defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeTopSites -bool NO
    Undo your changes
    defaults delete com.apple.Safari
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Safari Beta 4 Released OS X + Windows. Awesome so far ... started by Cody Overcash View original post