Monday, April 7, 2008

Bungle in the Jungle

Back in July, I reviewed the major web browsers, including Safari. My conclusion then was that, for any practical use, Safari was by far the worst web browser of those I tried.

Well, it's been some time, and Safari has come up with a new and improved version (the one I reviewed was a beta version, too). So I decided to revisit.

The good news is that Safari is no longer #5 of the five I've tested; the bad news is that the reason for this is that Netscape is no longer being made.

At the time, I said the following about Safari:

The first problem is that Safari just doesn't get tabbed browsing. The default is to always open a new window for any links that require one; in order to use a tab, you have to hold down CTRL while clicking.

No change.  You still need to hold down the CTRL key to open a new tab.  Why is Safari the only browser that requires this?

There's also the built-in search. Where other browsers give you many choices of search engines for the bar (and MSIE and Opera allow you to add any site's search engine to the search), Safari gives you two: Google and Yahoo.

No change. Again, why is Safari the only browser that doesn't offer this?

The way Safari handles bookmarks is different without being better. Other browsers have a dropdown list of bookmarks, along with a way of creating a toolbar of your favorites. Safari has no dropdown list, just the toolbar.

No change.  And I didn't mention that managing bookmarks is fairly complicated (MSIE leads in that category).

The handling of RSS feeds is crude to say the least.

This has been improved slightly -- the feeds do notify you of changes.  But adding a feed is much more complicated than for other browsers:  it takes an extra step in Safari and is complicated to manage on the bookmark bar. 

In addition, there are no add-ins available, so what you get is what you get.

No change.

On the plus side, it does seem to be fast.  On the minus side, the text has a very blurred look, due to Safari's refusal to use Microsoft's text smoothing in preference to their own.

So, ultimately, the latest Safari is still just lost in the jungle again.