Safari 5: Quick Impressions

I rebooted my MacBook Pro today, because I wanted to try out Safari 5. The short version of all this is: I came off quite impressed. DNS prefetching, the Web Inspector, and Safari Reader (strips ads/formatting) are killer features.

First up, its fast. DNS prefetching makes a difference if you browse the web like I do – I have a folder of bookmarks called “Daily”, and in there it has sites like Techcrunch, Techmeme, Hacker News, Slashdot, and a few news sites. You can imagine I’m usually loading up links elsewhere, and if an article is too lengthy, I usually just use the Read Later widget and send it to Instapaper.

There is now a free Safari Developer Program (as opposed to the US$99 paid iPhone or Mac developer programs). It allows you to sign your extension (beyond that, I don’t see the value – guess why its free?). There is supposed to be an Extension Gallery, but I guess this will be around in due time.

As someone that frequently uses the Web Developer extension in Firefox, I have to say I’m quite impressed with the Web Inspector that comes built in with Safari 5. Its more visual. Timelines, Resources, looking at HTML5 storage containers (local databases), and more is quite useful.

I mentioned that I like using Instapaper above. What is its killer feature? Scraping text from a page, images if need be, and giving you a clean reading interface. Safari comes with Safari Reader, which is very Instapaper like. The blog you read has got ads, but a fairly simplistic (aka boring) design. With Reader? Articles look a whole lot better – I can tell I’ll be using this feature a lot. Its not just about the fact that it strips ads – its a much cleaner, interesting interface. I wonder if it’ll catch on?

before reader

Before Safari Reader
Safari Reader

Using Safari Reader

Memory usage seems to be better than Firefox 3.6.3, with multiple tabs open. I know the Firefox team are hard at work to make magic happen here, but Safari seems to have the edge at the moment. I haven’t used Chrome enough to know if it compares.

What do I miss? My Firefox add-ons. Here’s to the Safari Extension Gallery growing to become like Give Safari 5 a twirl, you probably won’t be disappointed. And if you’re into reading about every whizz-bang feature, go check out the feature list.