Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why Safari?

Why so many people love Mac OS? Is it really fantastic or just the way to express their /unique/ personality? These years I struggled with myself for buying a Mac or not. As I do not have deep pockets, a simple start can be trying its browser Safari on my windows box...

"A good name is a good start for a product." After couple of days' testing, my word was proved: Just like its name, Safari is "suffering". (If I am wrong, please correct me.)

First of all, there are two good things I mentioned:

  1. The fonts (except Chinese fonts) are perfect, especially the anti-aliasing effect has impacted me deeply. Text on web pages looks more crisper and easier to read. Although I saw one similar tool to increase the anti-aliasing for Windows, but I prefer to the results of Safari.
  2. When I search some text in a Web page, all matches will be highlighted with an extra large size and in a high contrast color, so that you can find your target easily.

All other experiences of Safari are really nightmares:
  1. There is no "New Tab" button on toolbar. Although user can double click on empty area of tab bar, like other browsers. But by default, when there is only one tab opened, tab bar is invisible. Shall I always stick my fingers on keyboard (to press CTRL+T)? Alternatively, user can also open a tab by middle-button clicking on a link. But it is not handy, why so complicated?
  2. The user interface looks material silver. All buttons especially the close tab "X" on each tab are not easy to be identified. By switching tabs I often close a web page by mistake. Even worse is the function "Reopen Last Closed Window" is belt in menu. I get really nervous while switching tabs. One thing to be noted: When multiple Safari instances are running, it might recover the last closed web page of previous instance, not the current.
  3. There is no drop-down button on address bar. When I try to open a frequently visited website, I have to type several chars and then select it from the list. Hui, my fingers will be permanently damaged after using Safari for one month.
  4. The memory usage is huge. Just run Safari will manipulate ca. 40MB memory. After navigating several simple websites, the usage will increase to 100MB-200MB or more. I did the same test in MSIE or FireFox. They use less.


Safari is suffering. Most problems (I regard as) are related to usability. Apple is proud of its design. But at least Safari disappointed me. I did not see too many highlights on it. I will still keep this toy for web page compatibility tests and hope something really exciting in next major release.

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