Saturday, March 08, 2003

When I'm 64!
A MacUnderground In-Depth Look at the Newest Safari Beta

Yes, Safari Beta v64 is out, and I'm running it. The latest version features major improvements in tabbed browsing. The previous version was v62, which caused quite a bit of commotion with reports of tabbed browsing. The last public release was v60, which is available from Apple's website.

Here's the deal with v64's innovative look at tabbed browsing:

- Unlike in Chimera/Camino where tabs are centered and forced to move over with each new tab, Safari places tabs from left to right, only adjusting them in order to make room for more tabs.
- Each tab features a little x-in-a-circle, al la search bar, which closes the tab without selecting it.
- Command-clicking a link opens it in a tab, which loads in the background, allowing you to continue viewing your current page (this is a preference that can be changed through the "Debug" menu).
- You can tell if a tab is loading thanks to a Bond-style indicator like the one below the grey Apple at start up.
- When you've opened too many tabs for the tab-bar to handle, arrows appear on the far right that open a drop-down menu containing the rest of your tabs.
- Folders in the Bookmarks Bar feature an "Open in Tabs" option. Clicking this opens all the pages in the folder in one page, each in its own tab.

Sounds great, right? Well, think of v64 as a beta of a beta. Many people have trashed it, reporting major problems. Here's what I've run into so far:

- Some images, particularly at the Iconfactory (go figure) will move with the screen, causing an eyesore as you scroll.
- It crashed once.

In my opinion, it's pretty good, although Apple will want to smooth things over before releasing a public version.

If you're bold enough to go looking for your own copy of Safari v64, do so at your own risk. Here's how I stumbled upon mine:

- Use a file-sharing app. I used the free version of Limewire, mostly because it was already installed.
- Do a Program search (that's what it's called in Limewire) for "Safari." You can try specifying v64, but it generally limits your results too much.
- Once your results come in, scroll through and check program names. Generally, the name "Safari" by itself denotes a publicly available version, like v51 (the original, and buggy, release). Look for something with v64 in it (v62 also features tabs, although not all the features listed above).
- Check the file type. Many crafty people might try to trick you with the wrong type of file. .dmg and .sit are generally good ones. Avoid HTML, .exe, .zip, and so on.
- Check the file size. Avoid anything that isn't between 2,500 and 3,500 KB.
- If the connection speed of the other computer is displayed, keep it in mind. A modem connection can be very slow.
- Download. You may have to keep searching, even after you start downloading. In Limewire, many files will just "Requery Host" forever. It could be a while before you finally download something.
To be sure you have v64, open the app (once it's been unstuffed and/or disc mounted) and check the "About Safari" selection.

If you aren't feeling daring (and I don't blame you), just sit tight. Some reports suggest that a new public release of Safari is about a week off.


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