First off, this was an awesome upgrade from firefox on my mac. Safari 4 public beta is about as revolutionary as when apple first introduced Safari in 2003. As you can see from the official website’s feature page their are over 150+ new features! Most of them are performance or usability tweaks so I’ll only talk about the coolest ones.
One of the coolest is the new top pages feature. It is a lot like Opera & Chrome’s first page. It finds your most visited sites and displays them when you open a new tab. You can “stick” them as well or block pages you don’t want displayed. This is great for people like me who are opening the same pages up over an over again.
My other favorite thing is the coverflow for history and bookmarking. It allows you to visually see the pages so you can find what your looking for out of your history. It makes looking for that page you were on an hour ago a breeze. No more looking through line after line of description tags!
The address bar has been transformed into being more helpful than ever with different categories sectioned off, you can see recent pages you’ve visited, bookmarks, google search all by typing a few letters.
They also started to use a sensible text zoom much like how Firefox does it, increasing the whole page not just the text! This is key to keeping website layouts from breaking and is going to be accepted really well by web designers!
Safari upgraded to the newest version of webkit which supports CSS3 and HTML 5, which are going to be the new standards in my opinion. It passed the ACID2 & ACID3 test with no errors, wow! It has built in RSS, amazing bookmark functionality, auto-fill, developer features.
Safari 4 has a built in developers toolbar you can enable from the preferences. For firebug users like me it has an alternative called Web Inspector. Also their is an option to disable cache on certain pages which will be nice when I am working on a live website.
Now for the fun stuff, these are some command line hacks you can do to Safari 4 Beta to make it more your style. These are all done using the Terminal (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) in OSX, not sure if this is even possible on a PC.
To put tabs on back on the bottom:
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4TabBarIsOnTop -bool NO
To make links open in a new tab instead of a new window:
defaults write com.apple.Safari TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true
To go back to the old toolbar (refresh, blue loading bar, graphite):
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeToolbarRedesign -bool NO
To turn off coverflow in bookmarks & history: (I wouldn’t)
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeFlowViewInBookmarksView -bool NO
To turn off topsites in new windows & tabs: (Again, I wouldn’t)
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4IncludeTopSites -bool NO
Turn off the dimming of topsites switch to a website with a current one: (…..)
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSafari4TopSitesZoomToPageAnimationDimsSnapshot -bool NO
If you want an easier way to change the settings here it is:
Go to your Applications folder, right-click Safari app and click “Show package content”. Go to Contents -> Resources -> English.lproj and replace MainMenu.nib with the same file from this archive. That will modify your Safari menu to show new options.
Restart Safari and you should see a new menu “Safari > Tweaks”