March 20, 2008

Safari 3.1 is available

Apple released Safari 3.1 and web surfing is now more enjoyable. I think it was a couple of months ago Apple released Safari 3.0 for Windows. I always used Firefox, but the elegance of the user interface of Safari intrigued me. And I must say I was hooked. Pages loaded much faster with Safari, looked better even on Windows and I could still enjoy my tabbed browsing. But when I was developing web pages I turned to Firefox, because there is nothing like Firebug to create web pages. So for just surfing I used Safari and for developing I used Firefox.

But then a month ago after a Windows update, my Safari wouldn't start anymore. It gave me a change to try Opera and I was not disappointed. Especially the Speed Dial in Opera is nice, but it was not Safari. And now Safari 3.1 has been released. I was nervous to see if the software would work, because otherwise it would be a big disappointment. But it works! I can now surf fast and pretty and the new version even has a small bonus: a Develop menu bar.

It is kind of buried in the Preferences dialog window, but in the Advanced section it says: Show Develop menu bar.

And yes, after clicking on the checkbox I got an extra menu item on the menu bar. With the Develop menu we can open the current page with other web browser installed on our computer. We can change the user agent header sent to the server, because we can still visit those sites, that still have a stupid check for the user agent header. We can now fake to be for example Internet Explorer and most sites will work fine. These sites make me mad, because the pages on the site will work nicely with different browser, but because of a stupid user agent check we can not see the pages correctly.

But what is the Show Web Inspector option on the Develop menu? That is something new. And well I was in for a surprise. The Web Inspector shows a very good overview of the structure of a page and I can click on elements to see for example the CSS styles and even the CSS computed styles.

Another nice option is the Network Timeline. In a very clear and beautiful diagram the load time of the page and the elements belonging to the page are shown. Even small suggestions are made for better performance, like using gzip to sent HTML.

So now I am happy again, because I can use Safari for all my surfing. The Web Inspector is nice for quick inspection, but I still use Firefox/Firebug for real web page development.