Week of Safari 4 – Day One, First Impressions

As I mentioned in a previous post I’m trying out the new Safari 4 Beta as my only browser for a week. I think a week is sufficient time to really try it out whilst I perform some of my most common tasks. So earlier today I installed the beta and set about my daily tasks. This post covers some of my first impressions using Safari 4.

Comfortable Shortcuts

I’ve tried to switch to Safari before, but I found the different keyboard shortcuts very difficult to learn. In the end it was an insurmountable hurdle for me, and as such I went stumbling back to FireFox, feeling a little battered and bruised. This release, thankfully, seems to have adapted some of my most used FireFox shortcuts. For example, Command + K now jumps to the search box while Command + L jumps to the address/location bar. Same as FireFox. Control + Tab now switches between tabs. It’s all very comfortable and familiar.


Luckily, I didn’t have to go through the process of importing a load of bookmarks into Safari on account of my reliance on Delicious for my bookmarking needs. Whilst the nifty FireFox plugin is now gone, the bookmarklets seem more than adequate. The same goes for Evernote, which is also now missing a plugin which has been replaced by a bookmarklet (for those not in the know, a bookmarklet is a small piece of Javascript that you save to your bookmarks, allowing you to easily run it at any time on any page).

Having said that, the bookmarking interface in Safari is nice. Apple has used the coverflow interface for browsing through your bookmarks and just generally made it very slick. I think, if I remain with Safari after this week is through, I’ll need to rethink my bookmarking strategy. I’ve typically used Delicious as a place to store articles that I may be interested in at some point in the future, and mixed in with those articles are the sites that I actually visit regularly. I can see myself using Safari to store my commonly used sites and a combination of Evernote and Delicious for note taking and URL storing.

What am I missing?

I’ve always identified FireFox’s extensions as the main reason I could never move away from that browser, but in fact, it hasn’t really been an issue. The extension I’m missing the most is actually Twitterfox, a plugin that lets you read from, and post to, Twitter. I’m yet to find an alternative that fits in with my workflow quite as well. Oddly, all the other extensions that I thought I couldn’t live without have, for the most part, fallen by the wayside.

Another aspect of FireFox that I’ve found myself missing is the ability to add shortcuts to text boxes through bookmarks. This is an often overlooked feature, but one I used multiple times every single day. For example, if I wanted to search for something on Amazon, I would just type “amazon product name” into the URL bar and it would automatically be translated into an Amazon site search. I’ve got a fair few of these shortcuts set up, some for searches, some for performing various actions (“tweet” to send a message to Twitter, “tu” to shorten a URL using TinyURL and many others).

Tomorrow I’ll go over some of the interface changes in Safari 4, from a FireFox user’s point of view.

Read the other posts from my Week of Safari 4.